Canadian exchange students say farewell to Colégio São Luiz

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After living the routine of Colégio São Luiz in Brusque for 15 days, seven students from the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur in Quebec, Canada, said their goodbyes to Brazil on Saturday, October 21. This exchange marked the second stage of the partnership between Colégio São Luiz and the Canadian institution, which had already welcomed the Brazilian volleyball students from Brusque at the beginning of this year.

For the principal of Colégio São Luiz College, Father Silvano João da Costa, this experience brought significant learning.  “It’s a feeling of gratitude for everything we’ve experienced in the presence of students and teachers from Quebec. We shared our way of being and educating in Brazil, and it all comes down to hospitality,” he evaluates.

Father Silvano also expresses his gratitude to the families of the students who hosted the exchange students, as well as the teachers who were more involved in the project.  “These are unforgettable marks in the history of our institution, which is celebrating its 120th anniversary amidst international experiences. It’s when we realize that smiles, hugs, and hospitality are the same in all cultures, giving us the certainty that love unites us,” Father Silvano says.

Human warmth

Exceeded expectations and experiences that will be cherished forever in memory and heart. It is with this feeling that the young Canadians leave the city. “It was much better than I expected. What I liked the most were the people, who are very welcoming and always happy. When they see us, they all hug us, and it’s very nice,” says Ellie Marris.

Océane Lernay-Joly was also charmed by the Brazilian way of being. “The students here are very close and united. It’s really nice to be greeted so warmly in the morning when we arrive at school. It really is a ‘Good Morning!’,” she says.

Joana Daigreault also appreciated the warmth received from the people she met. “Everything was as I expected it to be,” she assures.

The young girl Mia-Lee Berniquez, on the other hand, mentions the close relationship between students and teachers. “It’s very nice to see the interaction in the classroom, the active participation of the students, and the exchanges that occur, leading to learning. In Canada, classes are always very quiet, very different from what we’ve seen here.”

The various events organized by Colégio São Luiz were also praised by the exchange students. They attended the opening of the institution’s 36th Marathon on the evening of October 17 and were delighted with the project.  “We realized how strong this Marathon culture is. The students are committed, dedicated, involved and united. That’s very impressive,” says Mara Fournier.

For Juliette Quesnel, one of the memories will be the city’s architecture. “Here, the places are all open, with many windows and outdoor areas. In Canada, most of the buildings are closed and activities are indoors because of the weather,” she explains.

Gabrielle Grandin experienced volleyball more intensively in Brusque, even though there are no significant differences in learning and playing the sport. “Playing volleyball in Brazil was very cool. I could even play more,” she expresses.

Recovering Values

The coach of the Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur volleyball team, Gilbert Landry, accompanied the students and was impressed by what they experienced. “The beauty is impressive, even in the rain. The cleanliness of the city and the school also catches the eye,” he says.

He emphasizes the presence of values in the students’ daily lives. “We see how the charisma of a Dehonian institution reveals itself and is present in the daily life of the school community.”

The volleyball coach assistant and mother of one of the exchange students, Marie-Josee, also emphasizes how values translate into feelings and humanize the school’s routine. “In Canada, we have been more introspective. Here, it was possible to recover values such as hospitality, receptivity, and human warmth.”

She also mentions the group’s visit to the Business Association of Brusque, Guabiruba and Botuverá (ACIBr) as an important moment to understand this union that encourages joint growth through associations. “We saw how much care is taken of each other here. Everyone is concerned about growing together and helping each other as a community. We also noticed a lot of respect between students and teachers, as well as everyone’s admiration for the school. There is a strong sense of belonging.”

The International Program Coordinator at Séminaire du Sacré-Coeur, Anastasiia Lavrynets, emphasizes the importance of presenting Dehonian values in practice around the world to the students. “They understood that we are not alone in Canada; we are a family. It is important to explore schools of the same congregation. We are not a single point in the world; we are Dehonians throughout the world.”


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