Being an International Student

May 20, 2022

International students come study with us to experience our Canadian education system, rich culture, and learn English. Some are here for a semester while others stay for multiple years and graduate from our high schools. For those who stay, it has been an intense experience of fortitude, diligence, opportunity, and reward.

We asked our students who stayed the course what it was like to be an international student. Yoonyoung Ok from South Korea joined our International Program in September 2013 with her older sister and mother. She started as a grade 4 student at Terry Fox Elementary school, continued at Abbotsford Middle school, and is graduating from Yale secondary in June. Yoonyoung has always been a hard worker with an excellent work ethic. She is a student who has embraced all aspects of school life. To her credit, she has been accepted to the University of British Columbia Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts, Simon Fraser University in Bachelor of Arts and BSc Interactive Arts and Tech, and McGill University in Faculty of Arts and Desautels Faculty Management. She also has been accepted to the Seoul National University, which is the top university in Korea, for a Bachelor of English Language and Literature. This is quite an accomplishment!! She has decided to attend Seoul National University. She hopes to become an English teacher. This is her voice:

Yoonyoung Ok (South Korea)

Abbotsford School District International Student (Grade 4 to graduation)

“Pursuing an education in a country in which the education system is nearly opposite to the one I've been in was a difficult transition. Having a language barrier with the people I interacted with was incredibly frustrating, especially in not being able to voice my ideas due to my limited vocabulary. However, if it wasn’t for the Canadian education system, I don’t think I would’ve been able to expand my critical thinking skills. Being emboldened to embrace my ideas has definitely shaped my confidence and to receive constructive criticism to improve my way of expressing my thoughts. As a young girl, I fancied reading for personal enjoyment. However, when I moved to Canada, my love for reading blossomed in conjunction with my English fluency. Moreover, I take great pride in my accomplishment to succeed in AP Literature after years of learning English as a second language. Looking back, it’s remarkable to see my improvement and how my studies have progressed. Furthermore, I’m also dedicated to extracurricular activities as well. Since grade 9, I’ve been part of the Yale Key Club, band, and in the school café for two years. Donating my time has given me a sense of fulfillment and purpose for my school and community while developing my character. I’m unable to adequately describe in words how grateful I am to my supporters. With their encouragement, I found motivation and determination which have guided me on the path of success over these past 10 years of living in Canada.”


Manager, International Program