Everyone benefits from N.B. International Student Program

by | Jan 1, 2024

Visiting international students and Woodstock High’s host students and families expand their knowledge and understanding through diversity

International students provide an invaluable tool by exposing new ideas and cultures to both the students at Woodstock High School and their host families, says Woodstock High School principal and program coordinator Nicole Giberson.

She said international students also benefit from this diversity, gain lifelong friendships, and increase fluency in English.

Host parent Holly MacLeod recommends the program, calling it a huge benefit to her family.

“It’s a good experience for your family to get outside your comfort zone,” she said.

The benefits to the local community reach beyond cultural and educational, explained officials with the New Brunswick International Student Program, which manages exchanges. They estimated every international student brings approximately $25,800 into the local economy.

Giberson said that the student’s tuition goes primarily to school amenities, such as “more benches, more seating areas, and more tables for the cafeteria.”

She said funds from the program also support new clubs at the school.

Currently, the school hosts 12 full-time exchange students from locations such as China, Spain, and Brazil, with more coming in the new year.

Students can stay for various durations, starting at a few months and going up to a year.

Throughout the year, visiting students visit locations showcasing local interests and culture, such as whale watching in Saint Andrews and hiking on Mount Carlton.

Some international students explained the exchange program provided access to studies beyond what’s available in their home countries.

“You have much more variety in classes, for example, political science and culinary,” said Mauro Rodriguez, who originates from Madrid in Spain.

And there are other benefits to an extended visit to rural New Brunswick.

Rodriguez noted how the air quality was much better than that of Madrid.

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