Karyn Barber

Brazilians embrace Red Deer learning experience

Brazilian exchange students received a sendoff from the Red Deer Public School District on Monday.

Brazilian exchange students received a sendoff from the Red Deer Public School District on Monday.

The 10 students from Recife are studying at Hunting Hills and Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High Schools this semester under Win The World, a Pernambuco state program to improve English studies. The scholarships went to teens otherwise unable to afford the exchange.

The program’s goal is to have Brazilian students mastering foreign languages in preparation for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

Caio da Silva Ferreira, 15, said he’ll return to rave about Canadian life.

“Living with a family here was very good and so is my English, but it is a little bit cold here.”

Rob Porkka, Red Deer Public’s international education director, said he knows students have “built lasting friendships with students here and (will) go back to tell Brazilians how great Canada is.”

Bia Avelino de Souza, 15, spoke with Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen about the fun she’s had and all she’s learned.

“Canada is a great country and I hope you will come to see our country.”

Dreeshen said thousands more Brazilians are expected to work and study in Canada thanks to a Canada-Brazil agreement signed in 2010.

He and other dignitaries said international ties are vital to Alberta economic and cultural success.

“It’s important to invite the world to Alberta,” said Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski.

The Red Deer group is among 410 Brazilian high schoolers studying in Canada. They were chosen from more than 20,000 who applied.

Events were held across the country on Monday to bid the Win The World scholars farewell.

rfiedler@bprda.wpengine.com

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