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  • Writer's pictureItsik Romano

These international students carved pumpkins for the first time and it’s as awesome as it sounds

international students, students, pumkin, pumpkin carving, pumpkins, halloween
Image courtesy of Shalini Dowlani

Students at the Lester B. Pearson School Board International Program recently celebrated Halloween, and it was filled with some exciting firsts.

For the average West Islander, carving a pumpkin is no new feat, but for Lester B. Pearson’s international students, the concept is about as foreign as the country they’re calling home this school year.


The Lester B. Pearson International Program was introduced in 2008 and has since hosted students from all over the globe. West Island News sat down with Shalini Dowlani, the program’s Manager to get an inside look at what the students have been up to recently.

International students have a variety of options when choosing to study in Montreal, depending on their situations. Children who venture to Canada with their parents or family members typically live at home, but some students come to Canada all on their own. For those students, the student dormitories at the John Killingbeck International Pavillion in Pointe-Claire become home.

The dormitories come complete with transportation to all participating Lester B. Pearson schools, access to a gymnasium, basketball courts, a fully stocked game room, and of course, free wifi. (SOURCE) The cafeteria serves three home-cooked meals a day, and students stay in one of 96 private rooms.

Alternatively, students have the option to stay with a Canadian family as part of the program’s partnership with the Canada Homestay Network.

Students are well tended to in the dormitories at the John Killingbeck International Pavillion. 24/7 staff ensure the utmost safety and care of the students, who become more like family. Further, the center is staffed with translators of an array of languages to ensure the facilitation of communication between students, parents, and faculty.


Beyond prioritizing achievement, wellness, and engagement, the team at LBPSB International is passionate about creating a cultural atmosphere for their students, where they can wholeheartedly experience all the sights, landmarks, and activities Canada has to offer.

"It's really important to us that our students get to experience Canadian culture and Canadian traditions, as well as their own cultures. We've got some exciting things planned for the Chinese New Year at the end of January."
- Shalini Dowlani, Manager, International Programs

Last week, the students had the chance to carve their very first jack-o-lanterns, and the activity was a total hit.

pumpkin carving, international student
Image courtesy of Shalini Dowlani

Students were introduced to the concept of pumpkin carving, shown a brief informational video outlining the process, provided all the necessary carving tools and stencils, and quickly got to work. Some teamed up, and some took on the task solo. Each student got to pick their own pumpkin and dress up as their favorite characters in the spirit of Halloween.

"It was really awesome actually because even though they were given stencils, most students just decided to do their own thing and be creative."
- Shalini Dowlani, Manager, International Programs

Image courtesy of Shalini Dowlani


Students capped the night off with a delicious pizza meal ordered in. It's safe to say the evening was a total success. We are so excited to see what Lester B. Pearson's International students will be up to throughout the holiday season!

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