High School Life in Canada
Background of studying in Canada
- Canada attracts foreign students from all over the world with its favorable natural and social environment, first-class education, competitive tuition, relaxed policies for foreign students and diversified social culture.
- In addition, Canada is one of the countries with the highest investment in education in the world. Instead of taking overseas study as an industry, the provinces have formulated various preferential policies and scholarship systems for overseas students.
- According to China’s ministry of education, the number of Chinese students studying in Canada has been on the rise in the past decade, with a 226% growth rate. In order to integrate their children into the western social environment as soon as possible and improve the chance of their children being admitted to the world’s top universities, more and more parents choose to send their children to study abroad in middle school, high school or even primary school. The trend of studying in Canada is gradually showing a younger age.
We have conducted an interview with Ha Giang, a Vietnamese girl who’s in grade 12 at FH International High School, Toronto.
Question: Canada is far away from Vietnam. What do you think is the difference between high school life in Canada and high school life in Vietnam?
Ha Giang: There’s a big difference. In Vietnam, students are required to get good grades in every subject. In Vietnam, we have 12 courses, and even if you don’t want to be a doctor in the future, you still need to get high marks in biology. But in Canada, you are free to choose the course you want to take. For example, if you want to become a businessman in the future, you only need to take courses in mathematics, business leadership, accounting, etc., which are relevant to your future career.
Question: What do you think of high school life in Canada?
Ha Giang: To be honest, because I was the first Vietnamese student in my school, I felt lonely sometimes. My friends have friends from their own countries who speak the same language. But I think loneliness is inevitable when studying abroad, so I think it is acceptable for me. Now I have many lovely friends, the people here are very helpful, so I like my high school life very much now.
Question: what are your plans for your future study and life?
Ha Giang: I have applied for the university and am waiting for a reply. I am very nervous, but I hope to enter my favorite university. In the future, I want to be an independent doctor and hope to reduce the need for financial support from my parents as soon as possible.
Question: What advice would you give to students coming to Canada to study and live?
Ha Giang: I think you should be confident and independent. Because studying in high school is a key step to entering college in the future, you can learn more from high school if you have confidence in your future career planning. Also, you need to be independent. Because you are here as an international student, your friends, your family are far away from you, so you need to be your own leader, you need to be brave.
Ha Giang recorded her own VLOG picturing a day of her high school life, take a look!
Characteristics of the Canadian high school education system
High schools in Canada adopt the system of optional courses, including compulsory courses and optional courses.
First of all, students from non-native English-speaking countries come to a Canadian high school. The school will do a Placement Test to determine the English proficiency of the students, and then arrange corresponding ESL courses (professional English courses for non-native English speakers who use English as a second language).
Students can choose courses according to their interests and future career plans. Required courses include English, mathematics, natural sciences, Canadian history, Canadian geography, arts, health and physical education, French, vocational studies, citizenship courses, etc.
Electives cover a wide range of subjects, such as business, natural sciences, arts, social sciences, and technology.
Achievement determination condition
Canadian high school grades are not determined by a single test. In Ontario high school, students will receive their own Report Card in the mid-term and final of each semester. Students’ scores are composed of Exam, Quiz, Essay, Assignment, Group Project, Presentation and other parts. Students’ final scores are calculated by adding up different proportions of each item.
In Canadian high schools, the passing score is set at 50. If students fail to reach the passing score, they need to repeat the course, or they will not be able to start the next stage of the course.
There is no national college entrance examination in Canada. Students apply to universities from Canadian high schools based on the results of the six courses with the highest grade 12 scores (Top6). The 12th-grade curriculum in Canadian high schools is a pre-university course. Students can customize the “Top6” according to the university major they want to apply for and their future career development plans.
Depending on the province, Canadian high schools have requirements for graduation. In Ontario, for example, the most popular province for overseas study, graduation requirements are as follows:
- Completed 30 credits, including 18 required credits and 12 elective credits.
- Passed Ontario high school English test (OSSLT). The full mark of the exam is 400, and the passing mark is 300.
- Complete 40 hours of volunteer time.
The high school system in Canada does not decide the fate of students through the final examination but improves students’ academic performance and social practice ability through the assessment of various qualities. Students coming to study in Canada can learn about the academic requirements of Canada and some habits in western social life in advance, so as to quickly adapt to the new environment.
FH International High School
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