This year has seen the biggest international intake of students in the history of Riverside Secondary School. Ms. Catherine Yamamoto, a teacher in charge of the international students, states that 150 new international students arrived at the school in September, and that about five more students are going to arrive at the beginning of next semester. This is more than the 120 students that came last year. “The positive word about Riverside’s international program is travelling around,” said Yamamoto.

As a result of the large influx of students, the international students are placed in electives that are not at full capacity. “The international students are placed in electives depending on their fluency in English,” said Principal Anthony Ciolfitto. “If their communication skills are lacking, we’d put them in classes that are more hands-on, such as P.E.”

According to Yamamoto, she would like for the Multicultural Leadership students to have a buddy system with the international students, but the large amount of new students will prove to be a challenge for this idea.

“Even though we have the Multicultural Leadership students to help the new students, it would be better to have a school-wide effort,” said Yamamoto. “I hope that the Canadian students won’t be afraid to interact with the international students, and likewise, the international students won’t be afraid to interact with the Canadian students.”

There will be positive outcomes to having such a large amount of international students in the school. “Having a lot of international students will bring diversity to this school, which will offer the students a perspective of how people lived and are educated in different parts of the world. I believe that this is a good thing for our students,” said Ciolfitto.

The majority of the international students are coming from China, followed by South Korea, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, and Mexico. There are also a few students from Germany and Thailand.