Educational Agent Familiarization Tour

Representatives from Asia, Europe and South America took in the sights and tastes of the city Wednesday and Thursday while learning what it’s like to be a student at Monsignor McCoy High School.

The Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education was the 10th stop on Alberta Education’s biennial Educational Agent Familiarization Tour of Alberta, which brought 16 representatives from schools and international centres on a 10-day tour of select school divisions throughout the province. It is part of a strategy to put Alberta on the map for international students, who create about 670 jobs a year according to a 2016 study by Alberta Ed.

“It’s a win-win situation for both students coming in and Albertan students,” said Principal of Monsignor McCoy Paul Bauche. Bauche said his school hosts international students every year, but is excited to about expanding the program

“They bring great energy,” he said. “They’re the kind of students who are interested in learning and meeting Canadians. They bring their language, their culture, their interests and that’s nothing but positive for our kids to experience.”

The school board hosted a welcome dinner at the Medicine Hat Golf and Country Club on Wednesday evening. The following morning, administrative staff from Monsignor McCoy, Notre Dame Academy, St. Mary’s School and the MHCBE met the agents at the high school for presentations, biscuits made in-house and a tour of the newly modernized school.

“It was a great opportunity for those international agents to have a chance to not just hear about Monsignor McCoy, but to experience it, to have a chance to be a part of our culture, to see kids in classrooms,” Bauche said. “I think that’s something that’s much more profound than reading about it or seeing a video.”

The MHCBE accepts students to the International Program from Gr. 9-12. In past years they set up a one-month cultural exchange with a group of 42 Japanese students who visited southern Alberta’s historical sights and shared their language, clothing and food in a culture day.

Jindan Sun represented the Shenyang Golden Start Start Foreign Language and Computer Centre in Shenyang, China. She said her organization has sent some students to Vancouver and Toronto, but never to Alberta.

“After this tour, I think I have the confidence to introduce more and more students to Canada,” she said.  

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