– Kristen Curtis, Student Life Editor

As Laurier Brantford’s student population increases, so do the number of international students. The LEAF program offers the opportunity for foreign students to study here in Canada and a chance for Canadians to learn from the experiences of those who are from abroad.

It is a voice that is not often represented – the concerns and needs of those who are here temporarily to get an education and experience what Canada has to offer.

Laurier offers the Laurier English & Academic Foundation (LEAF) Program. It is an intensive English as a second language program offered to foreign students; which features small classes, preparation in essay writing, learning to read academic works and learning vocabulary that is common in a university setting.

William Wang Ziming is from Beijing, China and a part of the LEAF program. He says that he chose to attend Laurier because his friends and teachers in China told him that it is a good school. He says that Canada is very different than China – Canada is very relaxed (Chinese high school students have very long school days and a large amount of homework – they work at a different pace) and the natural environment in Canada is very healthy compared to China.

Ziming says that in his spare time, “I like [to] play computer games and basketball. I hope I can learn baseball and hockey, because they are really popular sports in Canada.”

Asked about what his favourite meal is, Ziming says that he likes the burgers in Canada though they are very different than the burgers in China.

When asked what the people are like here, Ziming finds that most people here are nice. Ziming is not yet used to Canada and says, “the weather is really cold, I am afraid I will be frozen in winter.”

When asked how the LEAF program could make his stay in Canada easier, he says, “I think if LEAF can help students to get a driving license, that would be great.”

He tells me that he is very comfortable here. His only wish is that there was a Chinese store nearby.

Bruce Zhou is also a LEAF student. He is from China too. He says that he came here because Laurier offers a good program for International students. His goal is to work in human resources one day.

Zhou says that he finds the  environment clean and beautiful in Canada and that the people in Brantford are friendly. He says that he likes steak, boxing and parties.

Zhou says he wishes that there could be a party thrown for the LEAF students so he could have the opportunity to make new friends. When asked what he needs, Zhou says that he would like to practice his English with another university student.