Stephanie Gomes Annes was looking for adventure when she embarked on an exchange from her home in Caruaru, Pernambuco, Brazil and moved to Springdale in central Newfoundland.
Stephanie moved to Springdale in September 2017 as part of a high school exchange program.
"I spent five months living in Springdale and attending classes at Indian River High School. There were five students from the exchange program in Springdale.
"I enjoyed my experience very much. We did a lot of different things while we were there. We went on ATV and Ski-doo. We went skiing, skating and sliding. We experienced Halloween, which we do not celebrate in Brazil. And, I improved my English."
The experience was tremendous for both Stephanie and her host mother Kelly Hewlett.
"We had a great experience with Stephanie," said Ms. Hewlett. "We spent a lot of time exploring Newfoundland and introducing her to Newfoundland culture. It was a lot of fun; we had a lot of laughs. And we learned from each other. When she left, she was definitely missed, and we decided that we would go to Brazil as well. This gave us an opportunity to meet and spend time with her family. This was also a learning experience and it certainly strengthened our relationship."
Stephanie returned to Brazil to finish high school. When it was time to think about university, Stephanie's mind returned to Newfoundland.
"I know that I wanted to come to university in Newfoundland, but I was not sure where," said Stephanie. "A lot of my friends went to Grenfell and I was happy with how close it is to Springdale."
Ms. Hewlett wanted her in familiar territory and close to the support network she had built in this new country.
"I went to Grenfell for two years myself as a student," said Ms. Hewlett. "I loved my time there, I liked that the class sizes were small, and for me Grenfell was a great transition into Memorial. When I eventually had to leave Grenfell to continue my studies at the main campus in St. John's I did not feel overwhelmed. I was prepared for the transition. When Stephanie started to talk about coming here, I knew her family preferred that she was close to her Canadian family and her support system, so I began telling her about Grenfell.
After Ms. Hewlett talked to Melissa Halford, Grenfell's ESL co-ordinator about the ESL program, Ms. Hewlett really felt that it would be a good place for her to transition into being in Canada.
"Stephanie is going to contribute so much to our classrooms this fall," said Ms. Halford. "I think she is such a good fit for our campus and we're excited for her to have the opportunity to share her passion for Newfoundland with her classmates."
After completion of her ESL studies, Stephanie hopes to complete her bachelor of science program with a career goal of dentistry.