If you’re an international student attending a private high school in Toronto, you’ve probably gone through a lot of changes in the last couple weeks. While it may be an exciting change, it can also be an overwhelming one as you may might not be very familiar with the new city that you’re in and you might not have the same type of support system of family and friends like you do at home. You’ve made a lot of big changes to be here and you should be proud of yourself for it but it’s normal to not feel completely at home yet.
If you’re looking for ways to help yourself settle into your new city, here’s how enrolling in extracurricular activities can help:
Extracurricular activities are clubs or programs that you can participate in during your spare time. They typically take place before or after school or sometimes during the weekend. Many schools offer extracurricular activities for students to participate in but they can also be offered by independent organizations or as part of your city programming. These programs can range from sports, interest clubs, ESL support, student government and more.
Whether the extracurricular activity is part of the school or community organization, they’re always supervised by a teacher or instructor to help ensure the safety of the kids participating as well as make sure they’re following the program outline of that particular club or group.
Depending on where you enroll for your extracurricular activities, there may or may not be a fee associated with participating in it. If you’re taking part in an extracurricular activity with your private high school, participation is generally free. What they may need to pay for is any equipment or supplies that may be associated with attending the club, but that’s not the case for all of them. If the extracurricular activity is being offered by an independent institution or the city, there are usually program fees you have to pay for upfront. These are usually one-time costs that cover the fee to participate as well any equipment or tools needed.
When you’re an international student moving to Toronto for the first time, the entire process can feel very overwhelming. You may not speak the language as fluently as you’d like, you may not know anyone and it can be a very isolating experience going through all these new changes at once. Participating in extracurricular activities through your school or other independent organizations can help you settle in a lot quicker and make you feel more at home in your new city. Here are some of the key benefits to participating in extracurricular activities:
If you’ve never been to Toronto before, starting new can be tough. You may not know anyone besides your classmates, your homestay hosts, or the family or family friends you’re staying with in your new city. Meeting new friends can be hard, especially for those new to the country. Not only are you trying to focus on settling in and getting to know your new surroundings, you might be a little shy about introducing yourself to new people especially if you’re not fully comfortable in your new home yet.
Taking part in extra curricular activities is not only a great way to break the ice with other people your age, but it’s a great opportunity to make new friends. Since extracurriculars often bring people together through common interests, you already have something in common with everyone in that group which makes it easier to start a conversation. Since these programs typically happen either daily or weekly, you’ll have the chance to spend time together and get to know one another and get the opportunity to develop strong friendships with members of your club or team.
Every international student is different. Some will speak fluent English while others may require a bit more practice. No matter what category you may fall under, one of the best ways to practice your language skills is through extracurricular activities. Not only do extracurriculars push you out of your comfort zone, they can help perfect your English skills by forcing you to speak it with the people in your program or club that you’re involved in. If language is a major barrier for you, there are many ESL programs offered by schools or the city of Toronto that can help you improve it so that you’re speaking fluently in no time.
One of the biggest challenges of moving to a new city like Toronto is feeling alone in your journey. Not only have you left the home you’ve come to know your entire life, but you’re also being uprooted to a new city where you may not know many people. Getting involved in extracurricular activities can help give you a sense of purpose and belonging in your new home. There’s nothing like feeling you’re part of a group with a common goals, values and interests.
If you’re unsure where to sign up for extracurricular activities, check in with your private high school first. At Cestar High School we want our students to be as involved and integrated as possible. We offer a number of clubs and sports programs for students to participate in that take place during lunch hour or after school. In addition to these sports and clubs, we also organize a number of field trips so we can help our students feel better acquainted with their new city.
For other programs, the City of Toronto offers a number of paid extracurricular activities through their recreation centres that you can enroll in. In addition to that, Settlement.org offers recommended ESL programs and guides to help newcomers find clubs and groups in their area.
If you’re looking for a private high school in Toronto that not only provides high quality education that prepares you for the future, but also has programs in place to help you settle into your new city — contact Cestar High School today. Our team would be happy to help you begin your new chapter in your new city.