Toronto International is a great school, everybody is very friendly and I could feel that in the atmosphere from the first time arrived. TIA is not a big school, it is a small, cozy family that every student, staff, and teacher knows each other. Small student size is its advantage because teachers and counselors can pay special care to the students and they do remember each and everybody. The school is also newly renovated, they repainted the hall and more spaces are devoted to common areas. They also have a computer room, which can be accessed easily. I spent most of my time there when I didn't have class, it very quiet and the computers work really well. One thing new students should know before arriving is to prepare for entrance tests well in advance. These tests, usually consist of Math and English to determine your level and if you do well in the tests, it will save you a lot of time from studying what you already knew.
As I mentioned before, the headmaster, the teachers and guidance counsellor are very helpful since they know everybody's stories. I received a lot of help from them in the application process and other applications such as the study permit and the visa. They help students plan their education, which courses they should take to fulfill post-secondary schools' requirements. They also have a broad knowledge of universities and colleges in Ontario, and they are willing to provide me with any information I need.
The teacher's team is what makes Toronto International Academy a very special place. They are very welcoming and approachable. They have a lot of experience working with international students. They pay attention to everybody in the class and engage in conversations with new students so that they feel more open. Inside classrooms, they are very knowledgable and know what they are teaching and passionate about it. Also, they encourage students to ask questions and always try to make sure everyone can catch up with the materials. I had a great experience with Ms. Yu (science teacher) and Ms. Yasanliel (English teacher). Their lectures are always well-structured and easy to comprehend, they also gave me advice and tips when I first moved to Canada. They always try to include fun activities like experiments, games... based on course material to engage students as well.
In my opinion, highschool courses in Ontario are not difficult in general as long as students spend enough time on it. However, at Toronto International Academy, a semester is shorter since we have 4 semesters, so a course can go at a very fast pace. The class is 2 and a half hours long so try not to miss one. There is quite a lot of work to take in for a day but the teachers will try to make it as simple as they can. Some science courses are a little content-heavy, but it is necessary if one wants to pursue a bachelor of science in a post-secondary school. I find these courses are an excellent background for courses in university. It will be useful in one way or another in the future because it consists of basic knowledge that everybody should know. English courses are especially helpful for international students because it allows them to practice reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
I was part of the student council, we organized some activities throughout the year. The school also held big events such as a trip to the Ontario Universities Fair, Canada Wonderland, and so many activities on Halloween and Christmas. Last year, there was a sports event even which was really enjoyed by the students. However, there are more activities organized by the student council.
Toronto International Academy, as its name, is a perfect school for international students. It is like a small town where the neighbours know each other very well. This is a very special town with a very diverse community. Students who are open to and interested in exploring different cultures and want to make friends from different backgrounds will perform well at school. Students who are introverts or who don't have a strong English background may find it difficult at first, but they get used to it very quickly. Actually, most of the students in TIA use English as a second language, they create an English learning community where everybody supports each other. In general, the students are very friendly, no matter what background one is from, he/she will feel welcoming.
If I were asked to give a tour of the school to a group of visitors, I will take them to the computer room first. I spent a lot of my free time there last year because it is a quiet place and easy to access. Students just need to sign out the key and they can use the room as long as they want. The computers run very well too. Since I took several online courses, these computers are lifesavers. The room is also called the lab room because some of the classes use this room for stimulated labs. The school is quite small though, and should only take about 10-15 minutes to explore the whole area.
Toronto International Academy is like my second home in Canada. As an international student, I was very worried and timid when I first came here. But that feeling disappeared immediately after I attended my first class. It was an ESL class and I met other international students just like me. They seem very confident and enjoy life here and they always tried to start a conversation with me first. Ms. Antonio - my first teacher - was also a great person, she always encouraged me to speak as much as I could and make the most of class time. There were not many conflicts since everybody respects and appreciates each other. I made some awesome friends, and we had a really good time and still keep in touch until now.
School often starts at 9:30 and ends at 3:30. Last year I stayed with a host family that was 10 minutes away by bus. I often brought my lunch with me and stayed on the campus throughout the course of the day. There is a 1-hour break for lunch so sometimes I can bus home and take a quick nap. There are a lot of restaurants and eateries around the area and a Chinese supermarket so students don't have to go very far at lunch break.
There is no stress in the application process to Toronto International Academy. The staff here will provide as much assistance as they can. There will be a step by step guideline on their admissions, the requirements, how to send student transcript, apply for visa and study permit. They also give students information about how many credits are transferred already and a brief plan of what courses they should still take. There is information about the accepted payment method on the school website as well. However, knowing what you want to study in the future may save you a lot of time taking unnecessary courses and make the study plan clearer. In general, all the information a student need is on the school website, and one can email the school's staff for any query they might have.