Grade 9 student Hibari Mori, of Nagasaki, Japan, helped Grade 5 student Lincoln Starchey, of Red Deer, with his calligraphy when Catholic Japanese students visited St. Martin de Porres School on Thursday.

Red Deer Catholic schools welcome Japanese students

Learning English in Red Deer

Students at St. Martin de Porres School were introduced to Japanese art forms like calligraphy and origami by students from Japan who are spending two weeks with Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.

Twelve Grade 9 Catholic students from Nagasaki, Japan are taking English as a Second Language classes at St. Francis of Assisi Middle School. They are also joining St. Francis students in their English classes.

Paul Stewart, international student services program manager with Red Deer Catholic, said learning about Japanese arts was a great opportunity for St. Martin de Porres School which is a fine arts school with a focus on art, music and drama.

“These girls came over bringing things they were willing to share so it’s fit in really well with the school. They have some songs they’re going to perform this afternoon for the school. Then the school will perform for them in English,” Stewart said.

The Japanese students came to Red Deer through Muskoka Language International, a Canadian company that organizes study tours for foreign students. While they are here, students are living in pairs with Red Deer families.

“They wanted to come to Canada for a Canadian English language experience.”

Stewart said in the past Chinese students visited St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School.

He said the chance to welcome foreign students who don’t speak much English teaches Red Deer Catholic students how to welcome others in the future who are also learning English, like young refugees or immigrants to Canada.

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