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About The Program

The Richmond International Student Programs allows overseas students to enter Grades 8 through 12 at selected secondary schools, and under certain circumstances, Kindergarten to Grade 7 at selected elementary schools in Richmond, Metro Vancouver. The program gives overseas students the opportunity to study alongside Canadian students in the BC public education system. Richmond School District #38 is the 5th largest school district in the province of British Columbia, employing 3000 staff and with an annual operating budget of over CDN$165,000,000.



Richmond Secondary schools offer a wide range of courses in the academic, technical and business fields at different levels of challenge. Many International Students who come to Richmond are planning to complete their secondary school education with a view to entering a Canadian university or college. Students should be aware that there are specific provincial course requirements that all secondary students must meet in order to graduate from a BC school.

The length of time required for graduation will depend upon the following factors:

  1. the applicant’s assessed ESL Level
  2. the applicant’s chosen program of study
  3. the applicant’s ability to meet the graduation requirements.

There are counsellors available at each school to assist International Students in course planning to meet these graduation requirements and the specific requirements for admission into a college or university program of the student’s choice. Students who cannot meet these requirements by the time they are 20 years old, may be able to do so at one of the Vancouver area colleges. Length of time to achieve a BC Secondary School Graduation Certificate will be contingent upon the transfer of credit being assigned for courses completed prior to commencing studies in BC. PLease note that the completion of a secondary diploma will not guarantee acceptance into colleges or universities. Only students who successfully complete their program of studies and meet the necessary requirements will be eligible for admission to undergraduate university degree programs throughout Canada and the United States.


Each applicant’s acceptance into the Richmond International Student Programs and subsequent placement in a secondary school will be determined by:

  1. the applicant’s educational background and present academic standing as indicated on the transcripts, and
  2. the availability of space in the Richmond International Student Programs. All applicants must comply with the immigration requirements. Final acceptance into the Program will occur when the student submits a Study Permit from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). Applicant’s are accepted on a continual basis throughout the year.


Complete the application form and return it to the listed mailing address. Be sure to include original documents or certified copies of the current school year, in addition to the past two years' transcripts and the non-refundable application fee of CDN$200. Failure to include original transcripts will result in a delay in the processing of the application. All originals will be returned to the applicant after examination. Early application is advised because space in the Richmond International Student Programs is limited, and because processing of applications at the various Canadian Embassy offices may require several weeks. All applications will be acknowledged and applicants will be advised as soon as possible, whether or not they have been accepted into the Program. In addition to transcripts, supporting documentaion such as a study plan, references and certificates of achievement are recommended. A hand-written letter from the student, indicating why he/she wants to study abroad, is also recommended.


Classes range in size from an average maximum of 30 students for regular classes to a maximum of 22 for ESL classes.

Except for the ESL class schedule, which is based on individual need, international students take the same classes as Canadian students. Typical subjects include English, Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geography, History, Computer Programs and Physical Education.

Students may enter the program at the beginning of the Fall or Spring term. The schedule supports both semestered and year long programs. Students assigned to a semestered school enter in September or February taking 4 courses per semester. Students assigned to a linear school may enter in September and take 8 courses throughout the academic year.

In addition to the wide range of courses in the academic, technical, information technology, the arts, and business fields, each school offers a number of innovative courses and programs at both the Intermediate and Graduation levels including opportunities for enrichment. All schools offer specialized courses in Modern Languages, Physical Education, Technology, as well as Visual and Performing Arts. Unique courses and programs offered include: Broadcasting and Recording Arts Technology, Engineering, all levels of Computer Assisted Design courses, Environmental Biology, Computer Animation, Desktop Publishing, and Music Composition courses.

Richmond secondary schools offer a multitude of extra-curricular activities in music, drama, sports, and other areas of personal development. Qualified students may take Advanced Placement (AP) courses, or may register for courses in the International Baccalaureate-Senior Years (IB-SYP) or Junior Years Program (IB-JYP).

The public school system in Richmond includes approximately 11,000 secondary students and 11,000 elementary students. All secondary schools in Richmond are full service schools offering a wide range of programs to meet the needs of students enrolled in grades 8 through 12. All students are provided with program opportunities to fulfill their intellectual, human, social and career development needs. Richmond’s graduating students have demonstrated their academic excellence at a provincial level by winning a significant percentage of provincial government scholarships. Our graduates are able to qualify for admission to prestigious universities throughout the world.


The Richmond School District employs a  Homestay Coordinator to organize and facilitate an efficient Homestay program to provide support for host families and students requiring homestay. Living with a family is an excellent and enjoyable way to experience Canadian culture, and to reinforce English language usage. 

All schools taking part in the Richmond International Student Programs have advisors, administrators, and counsellors who are available to counsel students in both academic and non-academic matters.

International Students can take part in a wide number of extracurricular school activities; including sports, band, choir, theatre, and social justice clubs where international students can interact with other students sharing common interests. Within the Richmond community there are also many multicultural activities as well as information services to assist non-English speakers.