Teenager attending Cobequid Educational Centre returns to Brazil with newfound appreciation of Canada
TRURO – A Cobequid Educational Centre student is not looking forward to the beginning of February.
Larissa Myllena Gomes De Andrade has been a Cobequid Educational Centre student since September. She returns to her homeland of Brazil on Feb. 3. Brazil’s flag, the blue ball with stars, along with other country flags, hang in the CEC foyer to represent the diversity at the high school. Monique Chiasson – Truro Daily News
Larissa Myllena Gomes De Andrade, 15, is a Grade 11 student who is originally from the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. Larissa has quickly settled into life in Canada and anticipates missing it badly when she returns to her homeland.
“There will be lots of tears. I’ll be feeling so bad because I’ll miss my house family and teacher and it’s been an amazing experience here,” Larissa said referring to how she will feel on Feb. 3 when it’s time to return to Brazil after being in Truro since September.
Larissa has endured a lot of culture shock while here, including adjusting to the severe weather.
“The most shocking is how cold it is. In Brazil it’s 35 degrees and here it’s -25. But it was the best to feel the snow falling down. I can’t explain it … I had no idea what snow would be like because we really don’t have it in Brazil.”
One thing that was much easier than expected has been the education system. In Brazil, Larissa has 15 subjects in high school, whereas in Truro, she only has four.
“It’s much easier here,” she said shortly after making a presentation to her English as a second language class on Friday about her time in Canada.
Despite knowing some things about this country before arriving - “I knew it was cold and all the fast food here and how friendly it is” – the teenager quickly discovered there was more to learn about herself as well as the new land.
“I’ve discovered I have to do more for myself. I have to be more responsible here,” she said, adding she has advice for any other students contemplating international exchange programs.
“Don’t spend time with people from your own country. Meet others from other countries … and say yes to (doing) anything.”
As far as Larissa’s future, she hopes to become a doctor and will keep in touch with the friends she has made in Truro.
Also on Friday at CEC, other international students shared their thoughts about being so far away from home. Countries represented included Belgium, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Korea and China.
The students spoke about finding school more difficult in their homelands, not having time for extracurricular activities after school because their workload was too intense, and the desire to improve their English.
CEC representatives said there are more than 20 international students at the high school this semester, representing more than 15 countries.