Burnaby School District international student

Interview with Noah, a German Student at Alpha Secondary School

Q: What made you decide to study in Burnaby?

A: It was my mother’s idea. She suggested it to me but in the end, I had to make the decision to come here.

Q: What was it like living with a homestay/host family?

A: My first homestay family was not great, as they had very young kids who wanted to play with me all the time. When I wasn’t in the mood or feeling my best, I just wanted to go into my room and be alone. I changed to a new homestay family which is great. The father restores old cars and I help him with that. I like getting my hands dirty!

Q: How did home life in Burnaby differ in terms of routine, from your home life in Germany?

A: One big thing is that they say night when it’s just evening, and that the people here eat dinner so early. In Germany we eat at 8 pm.

Q: How did you feel about the food in Burnaby and your homestay? Was it comparable to food you would eat back at home in Germany? Different? How so?

A: Most of the food is comparable to Germany, but the cheese is different (we don’t have these mixed slices) and here the people use a lot more fat.

Q: What did you do after school was out?

A: I work in the woodworking room after school.

Q: Would you recommend studying in Burnaby to other students back home?

A: Yes, definitely.

Q: How long did it take you to feel comfortable in Burnaby and specifically, feel comfortable and “fitting in” at your school?

A: Not long, like one week  – because everyone is really friendly and you can talk to everybody.

Q: Were there other German students at your school? Did you speak much German while here in Canada?

A: There was only one German girl in my English class. No nearly nothing, only in English class!

Q: What advantages do you think you have attained by studying in Burnaby? How will this experience give you advantages back in Germany?

A: A big advantage is, of course, the English, but you also start to see the world completely differently because you live alone in another continent, with no one you really know. That gives you the feeling that you can go wherever you want. And for myself, I can say that Burnaby changed me.

Q: Would you return to Canada and BC specifically for further studies?

A: Of course I will come back to Canada. Not for studies, but to live here.

Q: What is your future field of study, or do you have any idea yet? Did your student experience in Burnaby focus you on any particular field of study? Did a class or experience open your eyes to a future vocation that you had not thought of prior to coming to study in Burnaby?

A: The woodworking program has really inspired me and I plan to continue studying and pursuing this area. I have been making wooden bowls that are really unique, with different grains of the wood making a pattern. [see attached photo]

Q: How was the student school experience different than that of the student school experience in Germany? Be specific, with regards to academics, sports, fine arts, student life, extracurricular programs, etc.

A: The teachers are better here I find. In Germany, they are in it for the money. Here, the teachers genuinely want to help you. I stay at school for 2 to 3 hours every day after school and a teacher is always in the room to help me, and for safety.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced as an international student?

A: I would have liked to be better prepared with regard to the cost of things here, like the price of a haircut. Food, I find, costs a lot more here. I eat and buy a lot of food, at McDonald’s, etc., so knowing prices here would have helped me to budget better. Also, my cell phone bill is a lot higher than the plan I had in Germany.

Q: Can you tell me about a special experience you had while studying here in Burnaby?

A: I have loved the woodworking program and plan to pursue it when I get back home.

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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