Panamanian students enjoying their Canadian experience
July 17, 2015

International students sitting outside at Barrie Campus

International students sitting outside Barrie Campus.

Georgian recently won a competitive bid with the Panamanian government to train students in English and the first group has arrived. These 12 young men and women are the first of 150 students from Panama who will be studying at Georgian.

“Panama is undergoing an economic boom – experiencing rapid growth and investment, especially in the financial and hospitality sectors,” says Gabriela Facchini, Georgian’s manager of international recruitment for Europe and the Americas. “There is a push for bilingual employees and the Panamanian government saw the value in investing money to educate students to support this growing need.”

The country’s Institute for Training and Development of Human Resources is providing financial sponsorship for the students. The students are taking part in Georgian’s 21-week English as a Second Language program which also includes an introduction to Canadian culture.

“The weather is amazing,” says 19-year-old Panamanian Lisset Royer. “It’s not as hot as our summers in Panama.”

Royer is planning to continue her postsecondary studies in Canada following the completion of the English program.

“I’m exploring options in business, including programs offered at Georgian,” adds Royer.

The students have been able to take breaks from studying and do a bit of exploring. They visited Wasaga Beach and recently spent a weekend in Toronto. “We also want to take in some of the Pan-Am Games while we’re here and cheer on our Panamanian athletes,” says Royer.

The students are housed through Georgian’s Homestay program for international students. With more Panamanians set to arrive in September, additional hosts are required. Residents who live within walking distance of – or along a bus route to – Georgian College and have a spare bedroom, can help an international student adjust to life in Canada and earn up to $750 per month, depending on the type of accommodation. For more information on the Homestay program, email homestayprogram@georgiancollege.ca.