Canadians eat far fewer fruits and vegetables than Spaniards, live in big homes and are actually a lot of fun, according to a group of Spanish students spending the summer in the city.
Forty students aged 12 to 18 and two student leaders from across Spain have spent the month of July in Brantford getting to know Canadian culture, seeing local sights and taking in the differences between Canada and Spain.
“There are many differences between Spain and Canada,” said 15-year-old Laura Lazaro of Madrid. “(Canadians) recycle a lot and have a day for the garbage.”
Also on the list of differences: Canada’s abundance of unhealthy food and beverages, large homes and teachers who make learning fun.
“The people here are also nicer than they are in Spain,” 14-year-old Diego Marlasca of Madrid said.
Marlasca didn’t expect much from his trip to Canada this summer, but the experience has become the trip of a lifetime.
“I thought it was going to be boring,” Marlasca said. “Last year I went to the United States and I thought it was the best, but I love Canada even more. This is the best time of my life.”
The students are in Brantford as part of Canada Linc, a cultural and language program aimed at helping students from around the globe learn English.
Students participate in English language classes every morning at Laurier Brantford, then spend afternoons seeing the sites and getting a taste of Canadian life.
“The program has two goals,” said Bonnie Flores of Canada Link. “That they improve their English – it’s a necessity in Spain now to know how to speak English – and the second is to learn Canadian culture.”
Day to day, students visit local attractions like the Bell Homestead and participate in activities including baseball, geocaching and bowling. They even took in a Brantford Galaxy soccer game on Sunday.
Weekly out-of-town excursions see the students visit attractions like Niagara Falls and Canada’s Wonderland, as well as Toronto and Port Stanley.
In the evenings and on weekends, the students spend time with their Brantford host families, who offer up their homes for the month.
This year marks the second time Paula Race and her family have hosted a student through Canada Linc.
“It was just a wonderful experience the first time,” Race said. “My daughter became very close with the girl we hosted two years ago. It was such a great experience for her she spent 16 days with her (in Spain) last summer.”
For 18-year-old Andrea Palomar, living with her host family has been a great help in improving her English.
“I think I am learning with my family,” she said. “It’s a great experience.”
Visit www.canadalinc.com for more information.