Italian Students to Descend on U of G

July 10, 2008 - News Release

Nearly 100 teenagers from Italy, along with a few from Kazakhstan and Russia, will be at the University of Guelph next week learning about Canadian culture and improving their English skills.

The students are taking part in Study Tours International's "Canadian Experience." The global educational program brings more than 2,200 students to North America annually to experience the culture via activities and outings and to take ESL classes.

This is the first time U of G has taken part in the Study Tours program. It is being overseen by the offices of Student Affairs and Student Life and Counselling Services.

"This is a great opportunity for Guelph and one that we hope will grow," said Brenda Whiteside, associate vice-president (student affairs).

"It allows us to use some of our residence and other facilities that are under capacity during the summer. We are also able to use senior students as team leaders, providing them with an excellent leadership development opportunity."

The program also provides opportunities off campus, Whiteside added. "We hope that by engaging the students in Guelph and the surrounding areas we can attract greater interest in Ontario as a tourist destination generally.”

The students — most of whom are between the ages of 14 and 18 — will be staying in the East Village townhouses, eating in campus cafeterias, and utilizing the library, athletics centre and other campus facilities.

They will be accompanied by seven European chaperones, as well as four U of G team leaders.

During their time in Guelph, they will spend three hours a day in ESL classes offered through the Office of Open Learning. In the afternoons and evenings, they will swim and play sports, visit the Arboretum and downtown Guelph, watch movies and participate in other activities.

The group will also venture into Toronto and to Niagara Falls for a day, as well as take weekend trips to Lake Rosseau in Muskoka and to Ottawa.

"We want them to be as integrated into Canadian culture as possible," said Michael Holden, U of G's project co-ordinator. "We want them to see what it might be like to be a Guelph student."

The first group of about 95 students arrive Tuesday and will be staying until July 30. The second tour group will be on campus July 30 to Aug. 13.

Note to media: Media are invited to meet and interview the students while they are on campus and take part in events and functions. To make arrangements, contact Lori Bona Hunt in Communications and Public Affairs, 519 824-4120, Ext. 53338 or

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