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Sudbury Hosts Bolivian Students

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Volunteer Claire Kambar and ESL teacher Mai Hellak (Front row - left) stand with their Bolivian students during their second week of school at St. Albert Adult Learning Centre.

November 17, 2010 - Ten students from Bolivia are in Sudbury until the end of January on an exchange program through an organization called Canada World Youth. Ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-six, the students arrived in Canada on November 1 and Sudbury on November 3 and are taking part in St. Albert’s Adult Learning Centre’s English as a Second Language Program to better adapt their communication skills while in the city. The school was contacted by the organization to see if they would be willing to accept the students into their E.S.L. class and the staff at St. Albert readily agreed.
The students are living with host families and, as well as school, also do volunteer work in the community three times a week. Their volunteer work allows them to learn about themselves and their new community, increases their involvement in local and global issues and give them tools to contribute to the well-being of the city as well as taking them back with them when they return home. Some of the volunteer locations for these students include Habitat for Humanity, Eat Local, the Friendship Centre and the Sudbury Action Centre for Youth (SACY).
Mai Hellak, the ESL teacher at St. Albert was thrilled to learn of the students’ arrival in her class. “I have been teaching ESL with the Catholic Board since 1996 and it is always so much fun,” Hellak said. “When you have students learning English as a second language, you are teaching at multiple levels and it makes for a lot of hard work but it is very rewarding. I also have another teacher named Claire Kamber who volunteers in the classroom and helps with the workload tremendously.”
Cassandra MacGregor, Principal of St. Albert was also excited to learn about the Bolivian students taking part in classes at their school. “We are delighted to have these students here as it allows us to learn about their culture while we are supporting their learning - and it also promotes diversity in our community.”
Exchange student, Cecilia Montalvan is the Bolivian co-ordinator and said that the group is really happy with the weather here so far as it is very hot in Bolivia and they can’t wait for snow. As well, even though they have been in Sudbury only a short time, they are thoroughly enjoying themselves, their host families, and are looking forward to exploring the city. “We have planned group activities every Wednesday afternoon,” Montalvan said. “ This is the time that we get together and take part in a more organized events and we are really looking forward to all of the different opportunities open to us.”

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