Burnaby School District Exchange Student Interview

Interview with Belgian Exchange Student – Johanna Coenjaerts

Q: Why did you decide to study in Burnaby?

A: I definitely wanted to take a year in Canada because it is such a cool country. It was either going to be Burnaby or Nova Scotia. I chose Burnaby because it was near Vancouver. This is my “Gap” year, which is a “year off” that many students in Belgium take. I have already graduated back in Belgium.

Q: Is the Gap program common in Europe?

A: Yes, it is. Studying abroad is a totally different experience than school in Belgium. Some people go straight to university but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Instead of rushing into a university program, I decided to come to Burnaby.

Q: What is the difference between school in Burnaby and school in Belgium?

A: You choose your own courses here. In Belgium, school is more streamed. For example, you can choose languages, so you take a whole bunch of courses within that stream.

Q: How was your English before you came here?

A: It was good but it has definitely improved.

Belgian Exchange Student Canada Interview

Q: Tell me about the theatre program you got involved in?

A: I joined the Senior Theatre Troupe, which is a pre-professional theatre program run through Arts Umbrella [a youth dance school based in Granville Island – an artistic hub located in central Vancouver]. There are four troupes made up of high school students who perform plays and tour schools in Metro Vancouver. The play I performed in was The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), where we performed parts of all 37 his plays. Our troupe toured two schools in Vancouver, and one in Surrey. We also performed at the Waterfront Theatre in Granville Island.

Q: What does the future hold for you?

A: I am going to go back to Belgium. I am most likely going to study radio or journalism.

Q: Would you like to come back here to live?

A: I would love to, but housing is so expensive.

Q: How did you find costs here compared to Belgium?

A: The cost of food was similar. My laptop and phone was cheaper here, so I am glad I waited and purchased them over here.

Exchange Student Interview Burnaby Canada

Q: What was your homestay like?

A: My homestay family was amazing. A very nice family. I felt right at home and they lived close to my school.

Q: Would you recommend the SD41 International Education Program to others back home?

A: Absolutely, yes. It has been a life changing experience for me. You learn so much about yourself. You get to know yourself. I gained independence. It’s been a very fun experience. And I have made so many amazing friends, not just from Burnaby but from around the world.

Why study in Burnaby?

With superior academic programs and modern facilities, all located within a city of vibrant green spaces, modern shopping malls, safe residential neighbourhoods, and state of the art public transit, choosing an education in Burnaby is the right choice.


Burnaby School District has one of the largest Advanced Placement (AP) programs in Canada.


Burnaby is located in the centre of Metro Vancouver. Its world-class SkyTrain public transit provides access to downtown Vancouver in just 30 minutes.


Burnaby schools feature modern facilities and state of the art technology.

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