Coming to Riverside as an International student can be a scary prospect but getting involved in the school can help. Grade 11 student Riverside international student, King Li, has taken the initiative to join the senior boys Riverside basketball team for the 2019-2020 season. Li had previously played basketball in Hong Kong for four years so it was natural that he would want to join the team here at Riverside. Though Li has only been in Canada for five months, the boys have taken him under their wing and made him comfortable with being a member of the team. When asked about basketball in Hong Kong, Li responded that, “The difference is Canada is better at basketball; they are so fast,” said Li. 

Riverside EAL teacher, Ms. Soni Joon commented on the International students participating in the culture of Riverside. “It’s so great to see our International students participate in the Riverside athletic community. It not only allows them to participate at a competitive level, but it also broadens their social circle opening them to new friendships and opportunities,” said Joon. P.E. teacher, Mr. Jeremy Neufeld, also spoke about International students joining sports. “We encourage students to participate in extracurricular activities as it is great for character building and leadership development. Each season we hope to see more international students get involved in RSS’s amazing athletic programs.” Two International students from Korea, Luke Sim, and Jun Won are both members of the Riverside Hockey Academy.  

Another student at Riverside who is part of the International Program, Shawn Yang, joined the grade 9 boys basketball team. Yang started to play basketball in grade 7 at Citadel Middle School and has played ever since. When he and his friends heard about the Riverside grade 9 boys basketball team, they jumped on the opportunity and tried out for the team. Yang says that joining the team has opened a new group of friends for him. Though Yang didn’t play in South Korea, he has taken well to the sport and hopes to go to school in the United States and continue to play there. When asked about his experience on the team, Yang wanted to mention his coach Mr. Brian Barazzoul saying, “He is my favorite coach; I like him, and he likes me too. I also like the way he coaches.”

All these international students are amazing examples of students who have immersed themselves in Riverside’s athletic culture and are working to build connections within the school.