Thompson Rivers University

International students spend summer learning about culture

August 31, 2023

Students from eight countries spend their summer at TRU in the Language and Culture Program.

KAMLOOPS — Almost 500 students from around the globe learned about culture and language at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) this summer.

This is the 16th year for TRU’s annual Language and Culture Program, which is a staple of the university’s International Training Centre’s (ITC) 30-year history. The number of students in the program was reduced during COVID, but is back to pre-pandemic levels this year with an impressive 490 students and 33 chaperones from eight countries in July and August.

The Language and Culture Program gives international students a rich, immersive and dynamic learning experience. They engage in intercultural competency and language lessons, supplemented with recreational activities that spotlight the Kamloops community, its natural landscape and local culture. Students return home with increased cultural knowledge, greater language proficiency and a more informed world view.

During the pandemic, the program pivoted to accommodate in-person and online formats, allowing continuity in learning. This flexibility ensured students worldwide engaged in interactive language lessons and cultural activities.

“Through our Language and Culture Programs, students embark on a journey of curiosity and exploration. With the support of the ITC team, local families, chaperones and TRU staff, students build memories that will last a lifetime and foster an environment of learning, growth and curiosity” says Baihua Chadwick, vice-president International.

The program welcomes high school and university students from TRU’s global partner institutions, with this summer’s participants coming from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Colombia, Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Venezuela. While in Kamloops, they immerse themselves in various activities, including language studies, classroom learning and recreational activities like kayaking, visits to local parks and learning about local Indigenous culture.

Carol Chien, superintendent at Infinite Education, brought 124 students to the program and lauded it as a “lifetime changed summer camp. It’s inspired culturally, and the best!”

This summer’s return to pre-COVID student levels highlights the determination of all involved. Students’ cross-cultural exchanges are further elevated by the gracious embrace of local families through the TRU Homestay Program.

Local families are still invited to consider joining TRU’s Homestay Program. Hosting an international student provides a unique cultural exchange experience that enriches everyone involved.

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