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Community Programs Participant Testimonials

Many programs exist in Peterborough to support newcomers as they integrate into the community, learn/practice English, discover Canadian culture, experience life living with a Canadian host family, etc. Information on some of the available programs, as well as a few testimonials from participants, can be read in this section.

The New Canadians Centre, through their Community Connections program, matches newcomers with community members for English tutoring and support with integration.

Tutoring“When I came to Canada, I was feeling lonely and life was very hard for me in a new country with a new language. I didn’t speak any word of English. After a while I heard about the New Canadians Centre and their service for newcomers. I went there and they introduced me with Judi and she helped me to learn English. I think the New Canadians Centre and Judi have helped me a lot with my life here in Canada.” - Banafsha from Afghanistan

“I’m Judi, a volunteer English tutor at the New Canadians Centre. I have been partnered with Banafsha for the past year, helping her to improve her English skills. During our time together we have discovered we have far more in common than we imagined. We both share hopes for our children and struggles around parenting; concern for ageing parents; a desire to contribute to our community and definitely a love of laughter. I look forward to our weekly meeting, helping Banafsha gain confidence in her new language and the friendship that has evolved between us. We both are proud to live, work and raise our families in Peterborough, the community we call home.”

“After living our separate lives for a considerable number of years in two different countries of the European continent, we came to meet each-other in another continent, in the same country, and in the same city. We met in the city of Peterborough in the province of Ontario. It was the New Canadians Centre in Peterborough that initially introduced us. Our main connection goal was to exchange language knowledge. Aissa wanted to learn English and Arbera wanted to learn French.

Now we meet regularly every week and have conversations both in English and French. We speak about our lives, work, friends, New Canadians Centre, other organisations in town, the city of Peterborough itself, and it goes on and on. We also like the idea that being two newcomers in Canada like us; we are sharing the knowledge of the official languages of this country.

We have come to realise that ours is not simply a language exchange experience, it is much more than that. We have made each-other present in our individual social networks and that is great. If you want to know more, why don’t you join us for a cup of Canadian coffee, and some English-French conversation?” – Aissa and Arbera

The Canada Homestay Network, since its inception in 1995, has helped thousands of students find a home away from home in Canada. Mr. and Mrs. Wicks are a host family in Peterborough with the Canada Homestay Network. Below are a few testimonials from the host family and two students they have hosted.

"I prefer living with a host family because it can be a good opportunity for students to know and learn about the Canadian culture. For instance, understanding the Christmas season and other holidays.
Also, students can improve their English speaking skills by talking to their host families. Therefore,
I recommend that students should choose the homestay experience and live with a host family." - Ayaka Takeda, Japan

"My name is Fusang Cai. I am a student from China, studying at Trent University. My homestay family has been very helpful to me for getting to know Canada and its culture, as well as to start a new life here in Peterborough. I really enjoy my homestay experience."

"My husband and I have hosted well over 60 international students from all over the globe, in our
25 years of marriage. While some of these students have stayed with us for a very short time (a program-packed 2 day stay), others have spent a whole school year or two, with our longest stay record of 5 years. We never grow weary of hearing/learning about the different cultures that each student brings from their country of origin. Their unique traits and personalities make each homestay a very enjoyable experience for our family." - Carol Anne Wicks, Peterborough

ITCH 1The Family Friendship Program connects Peterborough families with first year International students from Trent University. These families invite students into their home for dinner, an afternoon or evening outing, or to participate in Christmas holiday or other celebrations. The host families’ commitment for the 8 month school year is 2 - 3 invitations. A student can decide how many they would like to attend. A host family may consist of an individual, a single parent, or a couple with or without children. They assist with making a student’s stay in Peterborough an enjoyable and positive one, by helping them learn about our country (Canada) our community (Peterborough and area) and how our families live. They can also help with conversational English. They advertise the program through the Trent International Program (TIP) office staff and specifically by making a presentation at the TIP Camp (held the week prior to Labour Day weekend).

Robert and Patricia Orman are the coordinators of the Family Friendship Program that seeks to provide Host Families for those students wishing to be connected with the community. Below are a few testimonials from a few students who benefitted from the program as well as one from the program coordinators.

“Time flies. The lovely moments I spent with Robert and Patricia impressed me and these experiences I had in Canada will be never forgotten in my life. We played the traditional family card game together at home and we went to the maple syrup trip at March together. I learned a lot. Not only I improved my spoken English and also, I got a local Canadian's perspective on their traditions and culture. Patricia loves cooking and painting on her home decorations. Robert loves walking their dog and to communicate with us. I do appreciate that I met them in Canada and both of them have an amazing personality. I do felt a sense of welcome at Robert and Patricia's home and...... I do love Patricia's cooking style!” - Daisy

ITCH 2“I have been invited by Robert & Patricia Orman several times during my university year. Everytime they prepared a big super and desert for us, which made us really enjoyed. They also told us some Canadian culture, their Canadian style life, and some interesting stories. In the conversation, our English has improved as well. It was one of the most beautiful time in Peterborough. Because of them, I was not afraid of my school life any more. I am really thankful for them. By the way, their dog was so cute and friendly too.” – Yang

"I had my exchange semester at Trent University in 2010, and loved the Canadian way of life from the very first day. When I heard about family hosts, I immediately contacted Patricia and Robert which both accepted me. I was so happy! They had me over for homemade, delicious dinners on a number of occasions; they invited me in and treated me as one in the family! They also gave me an insight to the history of Peterborough and drove me around so that I could see more. I will always be grateful for what they did for me, being far away from home (Norway). I will recommend everyone to get in touch with Patricia and Robert if they are planning a stay in beautiful Peterborough. They will help you around and give you advices about what to explore in this region!" – student from Norway

“As an international student in Canada, there were times when I missed having my family with me and spending quality time together. All this changed when I started meeting with my host family, who made me feel as if I was at home. We would cook together, talk about life, play games. They gave me life advice, and they were the first ones who showed me more about life in Peterborough. They showed me a different side of Peterborough, one I would not have known at the time if it wasn’t for them.” – Karla

“I would say I really enjoy the time when your family invited me and my friend go to your home to have supper. Specifically in my first year, your wife cooked the Canadian food for me, we have supper together and you taught us how to play the Canadian games. You make me feel what is the real Canadian family’s life! I am very grateful to you to take care of me when I just came to Canada. Hope your family will have a great time and help me to say thanks to your wife.” - Ginger Yu

ITCH 3“We’ve been hosting first year Trent students in our home for the past four years, total of 7 students, some from China, Bolivia, Norway and Jamaica. They have all been so thankful – particularly as they are away from home for the first time – for a place where they can feel at home, and be safe. All of the students needed someone to talk to, to improve their English in most cases and to find out things about our community (like where to buy clothes, boots, etc). Some needed coping skills and advice about school and relationships where we could help; others just a place to crash. We enjoyed their friendship and openness, their desire to do well and take in all that Peterborough had to offer. As with other areas of hospitality one generally finds that what you receive is often gracious and more than you expected – we have enjoyed every moment with the Family Friendship Program. We are sure this would be the same testimony of many others who have opened their homes to foreign students. The Friendship Family Program consists of families who are willing to take one or two students into their homes for a periodic meal and relationship building experiences.” - Robert & Patricia Orman, Program Coordinators

Across Canada, there are Christmas Camps for students. There are five taking place simultaneously. The camp in Ontario meets the needs of visiting researchers, people doing fellowships; all international learners. Students from Waterloo, University of Toronto, York University and Trent University are invited to this one. Volunteers from the International and ESL Coffee House (ITCH), based in Peterborough, say good-bye to family at Christmas when they travel from Peterborough with Trent international learners who attend the International Christmas Camp from Dec. 23-27 each year. The International Christmas Camp is an opportunity for International University and College Students and their families to experience a Canadian Christmas in a family setting in the comfortable surroundings of beautiful Muskoka. Each day is filled with a variety of outdoor and indoor activity options, discussions and cultural exploration.

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