International students dive into Canadian culture, discovering sustainability as they learn English

The language students practise their speaking skills at an environment expo



For Isabella Huang, a chance to improve her English skills has been an opportunity to learn about Canadian sustainability practices.

Huang was one of a group of students who organized and hosted the Sustainability Expo at Douglas College this week. A project by the English language learning and acquisition department, the expo featured students in the program hosting displays on sustainability.

Learning to care for the enviroment

The event was meant to help students practice their English, but Huang said she learned so much more. Before she came to the college, she said she didn’t take notice of sustainability.

“And I even didn’t care about this stuff,” she said. But now, she appreciates that items can be fixed or donated as opposed to wasted.

“I know we can do more to help us, help others,” said Huang.

Tina Fusco, an instructor and coordinator of the expo, said that students learned about wasteful practices in Canadian lifestyles.

“We studied how Canadians waste a lot of food and clothing. We only wear clothes on average seven times, and then we either donate them or throw them away.”

She said students involved in the event were learning about waste, giving away used clothing and focusing on borrowing laptops and electronic devices from the library.

Among the displays at the event was a booth dedicated to recycling food items from home for creating snacks.

Sustainability differences within cultures

Lydia Styschchuk, a Ukrainian student and a host of the booth, said that instead of spending money buying food outside of home, people should use ingredients found in their household to create healthy snacks.

“Instead they buy something, spend money, spend time and eat something when like [they could use] different ingredients we can do at home,” she said.

Paria Mehrabian, a student from Iran, said that she had never heard of sustainability before coming to Canada. “I heard it first in this college and it made me so interested about this topic.”

She said sewing and repairing clothing by hand could be used as a hobby and a way to relax and charge a person’s batteries. She called it a sustainable hobby.

“You don’t need to throw out your clothes, and you can extend the life of your clothing,” she said.

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