LIA, Enhancing International Students’ Experience

By on October 27, 2016

We sat down with Jorge Bravo Perez, a 17-year-old boy from Colombia who has been at LIA since the start of our Winter Semester 2016. Read on to hear his thoughts on improving his English, his home stay experience and living through a Canadian winter!

Tell me a little bit about yourself?
My name is Jorge Alberto Bravo Perez, I came from Colombia and I am 17 years old.

When did you first arrive in Canada?
I arrived in January. When I came here, I didn’t speak English like this now; but I am getting better and I am feeling good.

What were you feeling when you first arrived at LIA? Were you nervous?
When I came here I was so excited. I just continued studying and talking to teachers to practice my English. Everyone here is so friendly, it is like being part of a family and that’s one thing that helped me. I like that everyone here speaks other languages, like Chinese, so I have to speak English with them. I can’t speak Spanish and so I practice my English.

Tell me about your home stay?
I have the best home stay. When I came here I realized I have another family, it is like my other family. I love them, they are so friendly. I have been travelling with them and next month we will travel to a small house, close to Toronto on a lake, so that will be awesome.
What kind of advice would you give to someone back in Colombia who is considering coming to Canada, in order to have a successful experience?
You should go because it will be a really good experience, and you should come to LIA. I have friends who came here to Canada with other companies, and I visited them in Toronto and one different thing is that they study with Latin people, and they do their classes in Spanish, so they don’t practice their English. So that’s why I recommend to come to LIA because people are from around the world and you must speak English, because they don’t speak your language necessarily.

What are some of the things you like about the city of London?
I love this city because it’s so similar to my hometown. It’s a quiet city, you can walk around with no problems, everyone is friendly, everything is close. You can use the public transport and get around with no problems.

What are your favourite things to do for fun here in Canada?
I like playing soccer with Mr. Selles, it’s a lot of fun. I love going to the YMCA after school to work-out, and I also ride my bicycle to school because the weather is great.

You have gotten involved in volunteering and sports, can you tell me which specific things you have done here?
I like to volunteer because you can practice your English, it’s a really good experience because you interact with different people and socialize with people from the city and the school. I have volunteered with Linda from London Community Gardens; that was my first volunteering experience. I translated as she worked with Latin people. I have also volunteered at BMO sports centre, playing soccer with the children.

What kind of benefits do you think you will have when you move back to Colombia, now that you have improved your English skills?
Wherever you go, you can find people that speak English, so it’s a really great thing; that’s why we are here! I’m going to study medicine and the best books are in English. I want to be a doctor and get a specialization, in intensive care, the ICU. I like helping people. I am going to study medicine in Colombia and I have four options of schools.

How does the weather compare here to back in Colombia?
The weather is so different, but I liked the winter and the cold. I had the opportunity to be in this place when everything is white. I went snowboarding with the school and my home stay too, its so fun, I love snowboarding. And now I can say I am good at snowboarding. In Colombia, it only snows in the mountains.

What is your favourite food?
Canadian: I have asked some people what the typical Canadian food is, they told me there isn’t one but they gave me the advice to try poutine, and its good I liked it. I also like hamburgers.
Colombian: frijoles (beans with green plantain), Sancocho (soup with meat; chicken/fish, potatoes, cassava, green plantain), Ajiaco (chicken, potatoes, soup with gasca spice), tajadas (fried ripe plantain)

Is there anything you want to add?
I am so happy here, and my advice is you should come. I’ve made a lot of good memories here, playing soccer, meeting new people, I have made friends from China who want to come to Colombia now, and they are all welcome. The first two months were hard, but I have made it through. Everything gets better, and once you can see how your English is going to improve, sure makes me feel good.

About LIA:
London International Academy
Address: 361 – 365 Richmond St,
London, ON N6A 3C2
Phone: (519) 433-3388

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