Northern living transforms Mexican student

Feb 25, 2020

“I do not have words to describe how amazing this experience has been. I have definitely improved myself in ways I didn’t expect to,” says Frida Barron Quintero.

Like many international students studying at Coast Mountain College, it is Frida’s first time in Canada. The mountains, forests and ocean have really had an impact on her experience.

“Before coming to Canada, I was not a very adventurous person. Studying at CMTN has transformed me into a more adventurous person,” says Frida.  

Canada is a hot spot for international education with thousands of students travelling to British Columbia to study every year. Northern BC is becoming a popular study destination as students are looking for a more rural community to foster personal transformation. This could not have been more true for Frida Barron Quintero who came to Terrace for the Fall 2019 semester through the Mexican Mobility Scholarship Program.

Frida came to CMTN with 14 other Mexican students to study for one semester. Their goal was to focus on improved English skills and gain University Credits for transfer to other institutions. Students left campus weekly to connect classwork to the local region. Learning about surrounding First Peoples such as the Tsymsye’en, Nisga’a and Gitxsan First Nations helped Frida and her classmates understand the complexities of the Northwest coastal region.

Studying at Coast Mountain College really opened up Frida’s eyes to another side of herself she had never seen before.

“Being outside here is beautiful,” says Frida. “Going on hikes and exploring the town has been very fun. Terrace as a community has a lot to offer all international students. Hockey is so exciting to watch! We are trying to learn how to ice skate before going back to Mexico.”

Frida lived off campus with a classmate and host parent through the Homestay program to experience Canadian living. “Living with her [a host parent] has helped me feel more supported while I’m away from my home,” she says.

Frida and her friends from Mexico hosted Dia de Muertos, Day of the Dead, an important Mexican tradition where families celebrate their ancestors who have passed. There is dancing, singing, face painting and pinatas to help express this celebration of life.

“I was grateful that we were asked by the College to put on this event. Showing Canadians real Mexican culture and traditions made me feel even more Mexican,” she says.

Frida hopes to return to Canada to explore more of the country with Terrace on her list of destinations. She has friends here who can’t wait for her to visit again.