UCDSB international students head home


Most of North Grenville’s international students made their way home prematurely last week due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Suzanne Barrow was hosting 16-year-old Bianca Breschi for the school year and was devastated that she had to send her home to Italy before the school year was out. She says the decision to repatriate students was made by the program that organizes the homestays, and host families did not have a say. “The situation is they have to go back,” she said last week. “Whether it s a good idea or not is not a decision I could make.”

Bianca Breschi and Suzanne Barrow

Suzanne says that even though she was sad to say goodbye to Bianca, this is still a good news story. Bianca has truly enjoyed her time here in North Grenville, particularly skating at the North Grenville Municipal Centre and hanging out at the local Tim Hortons. “We have become very close,” she said. “It is extremely emotional to have to say goodbye prematurely and under extenuating circumstances.”

Bianca was on a bus with seven international students who were taken on Tuesday last week to the Montreal airport to catch their flights home. Suzanne was hoping to be able to supply them with TimBits for their journey so they could take a little piece of Canada with them. “I hope they get home safely,” she said

Suzanne has been a host for many international students and has welcomed teens from all over Europe into her home. She says she really sees the benefit of the program and hopes that it will continue once COVID-19 is under control. “It’s a great opportunity for children to be part of the UCDSB and North Grenville,” she says.


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