There are plenty of international students from many different countries attending Riverside Secondary. This year, the countries from which Riverside is receiving exchange students differ from previous years.

Previously, exchange students from Asian countries such as Japan, South Korea, and China were more common at Riverside Secondary, but this school year, many international students are from European countries.

Ms. Soni Joon, a current teacher at Riverside that works with international students, says that this year, most of the exchange students at Riverside come from Spain and Germany, which is a substantial difference from prior years.

This does not mean that all of Riverside’s current international students are from Europe, though. There are students from all over the world, coming from countries like Iran, Ukraine, Congo, Pakistan, and Syria.

“I have the most diverse class I have ever taught,” said Ms. Joon.

All these countries are very different from Canada and so for these students, it can be difficult to adapt to the new way of living. Especially considering the fact that they have to do everything in a language that is not native to them, meaning they must work exceptionally hard.

Homesickness is common amongst international students, living away from their family and homes. There is new food, new customs and even new weather that exchange students must get accustomed to.

Going on an exchange is an extraordinary opportunity, though. Ms. Joon believes that getting to live in a completely different country with different culture, language and people can teach students much more than a textbook.

For anybody thinking about going on an exchange, the advice that Ms. Joon gives is, “Do it!” Going on an exchange is an incredible experience that students take home, and the memories will last forever.