International Schools Teach the World in Canada

Which one is true?

1) International private schools in Canada teach the children of foreign professionals temporarily posted here.

2) International private schools teach the children of Canadian parents looking for more of a globally conscious education.

3) International private schools attract children from outside Canada specifically to attend international Canadian schools.

It turns out all are true.

Canadian private schools that offer international curricula are as varied as the students and their motivations for attending.

“I don’t think I would say that there’s any one type of family that sends their kids to TFS,” said Khalil Mair, a Grade 12 student at the Toronto French School. “Just with the people I know, there’s an insane amount of diversity.”

Mr. Mair grew up in Toronto. His father is Jamaican and his mother has an Indian background and is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The main draw of the school was not just to learn French, but to study the French national curriculum, which TFS also includes in its classwork, along with the Ontario curriculum and International Baccalaureate (IB) coursework.

“The French curriculum stresses a lot more the humanities and looking at the world through the lens of cultural changes, not necessarily political ones,” Mr. Mair said.

The added French national classwork includes a French accreditation process for the school and visits by French education inspectors, said Josep Gonzalez-Medina, TFS’s new head of the school. In Grade 9, students take the Brevet exams (the same as in France) to receive the Diplôme National du Brevet des Collèges, he noted.

It’s a deeper inclusion of international coursework than, say, a typical French immersion program. And that is the difference international private schools are emphasizing.

At the German International School Toronto, there is a mix of Ontario and German curriculums. “The Canadian system is largely a content, goal-oriented system, whereas the German system certainly has its goals, but it’s process-oriented. It teaches a child how to do something within a big paradigm,” said the school’s vice-principal, Manfred von Vulte.

In language classes, for instance, the focus is less on reaching the goal of a student writing a full paragraph by a certain age. It is instead on the process of planning and ordering thoughts to come up with a piece of writing.

For a German child coming to Canada and attending a Canadian school for a few years, it can be difficult to reintegrate into the German system, given the differences. So it helps to have both.

And because of its small size, the German International School Toronto only extends to Grade 8 for students who will integrate into the Canadian school system, or up to Grade 10 for students who continue solely on the German educational track and plan to attend a school in Germany or another German school abroad.

It is an example of how much international private schools can vary from traditional Canadian schooling.

Another different kind of international school is Pearson College UWC in Victoria, a senior secondary program that generally takes students who would be entering Grade 12. The program is two years (effectively Grade 12 and Grade 13 or gap year), and the students are typically between 16 and 19 years old. A quarter of the students are Canadians, but the rest come from 100 different countries.

Pearson is one of 15 United World Colleges and one of only two in North America. The organization was among the first in the world to institute the International Baccalaureate, now commonly offered at many schools.

“We are a combination of the IB and experiential learning, including outdoor education, which was very much a part of the philosophy of [German educator] Kurt Hahn, who founded the United World College movement,” said Désirée McGraw, the president of Pearson. The aim is for the schools to be a force in uniting people.

In practice, that means students work closely together, with an emphasis on being able to communicate their cultural views and understand others. They may not always agree with each other, but the onus is on communication.

“It’s a very forward-looking, idealistic mission,” Ms. McGraw said. Along with the academic work, there is a co-curriculum dubbed CAS (creativity, action, service) in which students can do community service, outdoor activities and pursue the arts.

Students are chosen through national committees around the world, and the one-tenth who are accepted from many thousands of applicants get dispersed throughout the 15 United World Colleges, Ms. McGraw said. In Canada, there are committees in each province and territory to vet candidates.

“There is a sense that we are part of an international community with international connections ,” Mr. Gonzalez-Medina said.

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Cell Phone app launched to help first time International Students


Sheridan College in Canada has launched an app designed to make integration onto the campus easier for international students.

The app targets first-time international students, offering pre-departure support and information once on campus including how to set up a bank account and grocery shopping.

The app was launched in May and Sheridan promoted it during pre-departure orientation in China and India in July. To date it has been downloaded over 1,100 times for both Android and Apple operating systems.

“We have been extremely pleased with the improvements we’ve seen in student responsiveness and communication, and it’s directly attributable to the use of the app,” said Andrew Ness, director of Sheridan’s International Centre.

“As the start of term draws closer, more and more students are using it. It’s a key part of our strategy to integrate and acclimatise our new students and is working beautifully.”

The app helps students in the pre-departure process with checklists and airport arrival assistance. After arriving, they’re able to access information on parking rules, campus maps and locating places of worship.

The app is available in several languages and was developed by a former Sheridan international student, Ganesh Neelanjanmat.

Last year, the Toronto-area college hosted 1,500 international students. Ness said he was interested in developing the app in order to streamline the process for the growing number of foreign students coming to Sheridan.



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New McKenzie College Program Draws Interest


Kailynn Hachey is happy to be ahead of the curve, enrolling in a new software tester diploma program at McKenzie College just weeks before BMM Testlabs announced an expansion of its Moncton operations by 1,000 people over five years.

Hachey graduated from high school in 2013 has been looking for employment opportunities.

“I’ve been working part-time jobs on my own since then, just thinking, maybe I’ll find something tomorrow,” said Hachey.

“And I got wind of this program and I knew if I didn’t immediately go for it I would never go for it, so I jumped on the opportunity and got into the class.”

The 11-month diploma program that teaches students how to be a software tester, was suggested by her cousin, a fellow student.

Last Thursday, Hachey and her entire class was at the Capitol Theatre when the company announced its plans to create 1,000 new jobs.

“The job with BMM or any of the other companies would be awesome and to make it a career, when I’ve been so into computers since I was young,” Hachey said.

“I can stay here, I can live my life here, I can have a good career here, instead of going God knows where.”

Dale Ritchie, the president of McKenzie College, said the program was developed with BBM, knowing its plans to expand its operations in Moncton.

“We’ve been run off our feet just answering inquiries and explaining to the new prospective students what it’s all about,” he said.

“You can imagine there’s been a lot of interest because of the press, and the announcement and the excitement around this opportunity.”

Judson Murray, an instructor of software testing at McKenzie College, says the announcement is exciting, but software testing — also known as quality assurance — is a growing industry in many sectors.

“Quite simply, what they are training to do is to help organizations verify that the software solutions they are creating work as advertised,” Murray said.

Nine students are currently enrolled in the diploma program, that includes a design component, testing fundamentals, and test automation. The program finishes with a six-week internship at BMM.

Another session with 20 students is planned to start in November. Ritchie says the college has facilities to manage four sessions of this size a year.

McKenzie College is a private institute and does not receive public funding.

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Education in Canada


Over the last few weeks millions of students around the world have received GCSE O-Level and A-Level results. With this highly sought-after credential in hand, a large number of ambitious students are seeking to continue on to higher education, with many looking abroad for the best opportunities. Canada, as ever, presents some unique advantages. For individuals interested in studying in Canada in 2016, the big question is how to best leverage their O- or A-Level results for entry into a quality Canadian college or university.

Below we have some great considerations when opting for a Canadian International education;

Things to Remember:

  1. Many universities and nearly all public colleges have January intakes. The deadlines begin as early as the end of September, 2015, so all candidates should begin the research and discovery process immediately.
  2. International students will have wait for acceptance letters arrive before applying for a study permit, which can take considerable processing time (depending on the visa office).
  3. In addition to general admissions requirements, each faculty (Science, Arts, Business, for example) will have its own specific entrance averages and on occasion, supplemental requirements, such as essays or an interview.
  4. For families investing in private A-Level boarding school education in their home countries, it may be more sensible financially to fast-track an entry to Canadian post-secondary through one of a number of high school completion programs.
  5. Language Proficiency:  GCSE O-Level English (or GCSE English Language B) is commonly used to meet the English language requirement.
  6. Always submit certified true copies when perfecting your application. However, many schools will accept PDF scans for the basis of initial acceptance, so students should start with those.
  7. Canada presents some unique post-graduation advantages over other developed countries, including the three-year post-graduation open work permit and options for permanent immigration.
  8. Each institution may chose to arbitrate foreign credentials differently. Schools will be the final arbiter of what’s accepted for credit in Canada.
  9. Within Canada there are regional differences in the delivery of education. Notably, Quebec uses its own Senior Secondary and College/Pre-University system, while each of the other provinces has slight variations on the delivery of senior secondary coursework.
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Canada’s Best University Subjects

When it comes to Canadian universities, three names tend to be bandied about pretty regularly — that’s the University of Toronto, McGill University and the University of British Columbia. And it’s for a good reason. These three schools are consistently at the top of global university rankings, and have some of the toughest admissions in the country.

Most recently, U of T was ranked 17th and 20th in the world by two global surveys.

But with back to school on the horizon and university students streaming onto campuses, it made us wonder — which subjects, exactly, are the forte of which Canadian schools?

According to the QS World University Rankings, which ranks 36 academic subjects according to criteria that includes academic reputation and paper citations (for example, how much importance a professor’s research has on the subject), Canadian institutions feature prominently in at least 17 subjects.

In fact, Canada’s higher education institutions are ranked in the top 50 for every subject, with the exception of Communications and Media Studies.

We’ve broken down the data for the subjects in which Canadian universities excel — Below are thought to be ten of the best subjects in which to study in Canadian Institutions;


Computer Science & Information Systems


Agriculture & Forestry


English Language & Literature

Biological Science



Development Studies

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International Students add Brainpower to Research

They’re bright young minds from around the world — India, Mexico, China — and a record number have been lured here this summer to add brainpower to some of Canada’s most cutting-edge research.

Some 750 international university students — nearly 60 per cent more than last year — are here under a federally funded program called Globalink that pays undergrads to come to Canada for a 12-week summer research stint.

Some 64 are working in the GTA this year, and 357 have come to Toronto’s universities over the past three years.

“The objective is to attract highly qualified undergraduates to do research with a Canadian professor at a Canadian institution, with Canadian research,” said math professor Alejandro Adem, head of the national, non-profit MITACS program that runs Globalink and other research partnerships between Canada and the world.

“Our goal is to attract them back as grad students with fellowships, because in the global competition for talent, this pipeline is very competitive; we’re up against places like Stanford and MIT.

The federal government has provided $20 million over three years to Globalink to bring students to Canada. Students come largely from India, China, Brazil, France, Mexico and Australia.

Here’s a taste of the research one young man is working on in the GTA.

Gustavo Ramirez:Designing robots to land on asteroids

Gustavo Ramirez has come to Canada for research that’s out of this world.

A space buff and computer whiz, the third-year student at Mexico’s Tecnologico de Monterrey won a summer spot on a University of Toronto aerospace engineering team that is designing robots they hope can someday land on asteroids.

The goal is to send small robots to land on some of these mineral-rich rocks and try to redirect their orbits to bring them closer to earth so we can mine their treasures.

“People immediately think of sci-fi movies, but it’s a very serious plan; space companies see asteroids as a huge source of minerals and also resources like oxygen and hydrogen,” said Professor Reza Emami of the U of T’s Institute for Aerospace Studies. If the oxygen and hydrogen could be extracted they could provide fuel for space craft or oxygen for astronauts without having to come back to earth.

“A major drawback in space exploration is that the spacecraft runs out of fuel and becomes dysfunctional, so being able to refuel a spacecraft or satellite is a very critical task,” said Emami.

MITACS student Ramirez is helping develop a simulator that runs the landing part of the mission and shows Emami’s team how the robots could be positioned to apply enough thrust, said Emami over Skype from his research office in Sweden.

To the 21-year-old, this is an opportunity to be part of something he could not have experienced back home.

“I wanted to come to Canada because I heard universities here have a lot of investment in research and we don’t have as much aerospace research in Mexico. I believe we need to stay investigating space to make new things in the world and advance our technical knowledge.”

The mission, called Redirect Asteroid, is to bring asteroids closer to earth so they’re convenient to mine — ideally between the Earth and the moon, said Emami. While still at the conceptual phase, a mission with the United States and Europe is being planned for 2018.

Is it worth it? One asteroid, labeled 1986DA, has been estimated to contain 100,000 tons of platinum and 10,000 tons of gold, said PhD student Michael Bazzocchi, one of Emami’s team, “and that has been said to be worth $5 trillion U.S.”

Yuhong Duan:Seeking shopping secrets of Baby Boomers

As Baby Boomers age, are retailers serving them well? Ryerson University Professor Hong Yu fears many stores focus so much on young shoppers, they fail to consider the needs of the biggest, most lucrative market. It’s a dilemma Yu’s team is researching, and Chinese undergraduate Yuhong Duan has come to help through MITACS’s Globalink program.

“Nowadays the attention is often given to ‘millennials,’ and strategies have not been focusing on Baby Boomers or their parents, who are in their 70s and 80s,” said Yu, an associate professor in Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Retail Management.

“A lot of countries are facing the challenges of an aging population. Baby Boomers are seen to be the most profitable group with the most discretionary money, so how do you engage better with them?” asked Yu, who will have Duan help conduct interviews of consumers over 50 years old to see what services they want — and which they don’t.

Her research focuses on options to traditional “bricks-and-mortar” shopping, a variety of “platforms” she said retailers call the “omni-channel” approach, with online shopping options, in-store apps, social media marketing, catalogues and websites.

What’s the best “channel” if walking to the store is no longer as easy, asked Yu? “Is it e-commerce? Telephone and delivery? A lot of European stores have (cyber) sensors that can read your shopping patterns from your smart phone and then push information targeted to your interests.”

Duan, a third-year e-commerce student at China’s Wuhan University, has been checking out stores in the Eaton Centre and along Queen St. to see which ones offer more options, and has found the smaller, independent stores are more likely to be more flexible.

“I’m interested in consumer behaviour and I can bring my experience here back to China,” said Duan. “It’s a good opportunity to experience life and the culture of Canada.”

She got a surprise the weekend she arrived — it was Pride Weekend and Duan watched the parade.

“In China, you won’t see that. So that’s the first thing that impressed me about Canada.”

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Upscale Student Housing

Judging by the new townhouse development at the corner of Princess and Albert streets, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in downtown Toronto or Montreal, not the infamous Queen’s University student ghetto in Kingston.

But these three-storey, red-brick townhouses, with rooftop patios and built-in barbecues, were developed here by Varsity Properties for a reason: They’re the new face of student housing.

“Students these days are choosing to live in accommodations like they had back home, with nice bathrooms and a new kitchen with good appliances,” A. J. Keilty, president of Varsity Properties and member of the Queen’s class of 2002, says during a recent tour of a 30-unit development in the final stages of construction. “They don’t want a 100-year-old building in bad condition. Bad housing is no longer a badge of honour.”

Granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Full bathrooms shared by only two people. WiFi. Washer and dryer. Twice monthly cleaning service for bathrooms, kitchens and other common areas. It’s how more and more students want to live now, and Mr. Keilty and his partners, all Queen’s class of 2002 grads, are happy to help them.

Formed in 2003 with three former roommates, Varsity Properties owns about $30-million worth of real estate in Kingston and houses about 400 tenants in its various properties. But with $70-million in its development pipeline, the company is expanding within Kingston and to Oshawa and Guelph, hoping to woo students at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and the University of Guelph, respectively. It expects to have 1,200 beds in Ontario by the start of the 2014 school year.

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Top Quality Education

Canada has one of the top-ranked education systems in the world.number-of-IS-in-Canada-by-year-e1421963606276

According to the Conference Board of Canada’s Education and Skills report card, an independent not-for-profit research organization, Canada’s education system currently ranks second only to Finland among 16 developed countries. The report card, which includes 20 indicators such as rate of high school and college completion, return on investment in tertiary education, and equity in learning outcomes, plainly states that Canada excels in delivering a high quality education when compared to our global competitors.

The Organization for Economic Development (OECD), in the report Education at a Glance 2013, similarly reports that Canada’s education system is one of the top in the world. More specifically, they report:

  • Canada has the highest proportion of 25 to 64 year olds with tertiary education among OECD countries and the highest proportion of college graduates (25%)
  • A higher percentage of Canadians (57% of 25 to 35 year olds) have tertiary education, which provides significant protection from unemployment
  • The amount Canada spends per primary student ($8,933 US), secondary ($9,774 US), and tertiary student ($22,475 US) is higher than averages for the OECD and European countries

Canadian educational institutions welcome international students.International-students-by-region-620x458

Many provide special services for international students, designed to assist them to integrate into the academic community and to help them throughout their stay. Most post-secondary institutions have a person to assist international students. He or she is the International or Overseas or Foreign Student Advisor, and works in the International Education Office or Department of Student Services. Most secondary schools which charge fees for international students offer the services of an International Student Advisor or similar counsellor. Students should make themselves known to the Advisor soon after arrival on campus and learn about orientation programs and other activities available through the Advisor`s office.

The figure at the top of the page shows the number of international students in Canada, and the significant growth of that number since 2001. Over the last eleven years, the number of international students in Canada has nearly doubled!

Many countries of the world are represented by international students in Canada. The map below shows where the more than 265,000 international students currently in Canada are from!

Canada’s brand, Education au/in Canada, is fast becoming well known around the world and represents the prominence and excellence of Canada’s education sector. Since its launch, the Imagine Education au/in Canada brand has become the window through which international students view Canada and the umbrella under which Canadian institutions recruit foreign students. However, the brand is more than just a recruitment tool. Thoseinstitutions authorized to use the brand consistently provide high quality education programs, deal with international students in accordance with recognized codes of practice, and are subject to quality-assurance mechanisms that monitor adherence to set standards. The brand, therefore, encompasses a pan-Canadian strategy on international education and a philosophy about standards of quality and service.

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Top 5 Fastest Growing Jobs in North America

Health care and technology industries are booming in North America, but which specific jobs are expected to grow over the next decade?

There’s something for everyone, with jobs that don’t require any education beyond high school, several that require only an associate’s degree, as well as jobs for those with master’s and doctoral degrees.

5. Diagnostic medical sonographers

Percent growth: 46.0%

Jobs added through 2022: 27,000

Median salary: $65,860

Typical education needed: Associate’s degree


 4. Interpreters and translators

Percent growth: 46.1%

Jobs added through 2022: 29,300

Median salary: $45,430

Typical education needed: Bachelor’s degree


3. Home health aides

Percent growth: 48.5%

Jobs added through 2022: 424,200

Median salary: $20,820

Typical education needed: Less than high school


2. Personal care aides

Percent growth: 48.8%

Jobs added through 2022: 580,800

Median salary: $19,910

Typical education needed: Less than high school


1. Industrial-organizational psychologists

Percent growth: 53.4%

Jobs added through 2022: 2,500

Median salary: $83,580

Typical education needed: Master’s degree

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Canada; The Worlds Nicest Place.

Every August my family embarks on that great American ritual: the road trip. And we always head north. Canada may not be the most exotic of destinations, but sometimes, exotic is overrated. Canada tempts us with familiarity, blissfully cool weather and, most of all, a deep reservoir of niceness.

We experience Canadian nice as soon as we reach customs. The US border guards are gruff and all business. The Canadians, by contrast, are unfailingly polite, even as they grill us about the number of wine bottles we’re bringing into the country. One year, we had failed to notice that our 9-year-old daughter’s passport had expired. They, nicely, let us enter anyway. The niceness continues for our entire trip, as we encounter nice waiters, nice hotel clerks, nice strangers.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police celebrating Canada Day. (Credit: George Rose/Getty)

Canadian niceness is pure, and untainted by the passive-aggressive undertones found in American niceness (have a good day, or else!). It’s also abundant. Canada is to niceness as Saudi Arabia is to oil. It’s awash in the stuff, and it’s about time, I say, the rest of the world imported some. (France, Russia and the UK topped one recent list of rude countriesas perceived by travellers.) Researchers have yet to analyse Canadian niceness empirically, but studies have found that Canadians, perhaps in an effort not to offend, use an overabundance of “hedge words”, such as “could be” and “not bad”. Then there is the most coveted of Canadian words:  “sorry”. Canadians will apologize for anything and to anything.

“I’ve apologized to a tree that I walked into,” confessed Michael Valpy, a journalist and author, noting that many of his fellow citizens have done the same.

Scenic Vancouver, Canada. (Credit: Bruce Bennett/Getty)

Traffic in Toronto and Montreal may be awful, but “you almost never hear a horn, even in the most frustrating traffic jams”, said Jeffrey Dvorkin, a Canadian journalism professor at the University of Toronto. Horn-honking is regarded as unnecessarily aggressive. And murder rates in Canada are low, he said, partly because “it’s quite rude to murder someone”.

The Canadian press is rife with examples of niceness in action. For instance, the National Post reported that in Edmonton, a law student, Derek Murray, left his headlights on all day. When he returned to his car, he found the battery drained and a note on his windshield. “I noticed you left your lights on,” it read. “The battery will probably not have enough charge to start your vehicle. I left a blue extension cord on the fence and … a battery charger beside the fence in the cardboard box.” The note went on to explain exactly how to jump-start the vehicle. “Good luck,” it added. In Ontario, a thief returned the goods he or she stole with $50 attached to a letter of apology. “I can’t put it into words how sorry I am,” the thief explained. “Please find it in your hearts to forgive the stranger who harmed you.”

Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers honoured in Parliament in October 2014. (Credit: Jason Ransom/PMO/Getty)

Canadians aren’t only polite; they’re incredibly humble too, and reluctant to take credit for even plainly heroic acts. When a gunman attacked the Canadian parliament building in October 2014, Kevin Vickers, Canada’s sergeant-at-arms, responded quickly and calmly by shooting the assailant with the handgun he keeps in his office.And while Vickers was glorified in the Canadian media, it was his humility, not his marksmanship or bravado, that was celebrated. (Canadians take great pride in their humility, an oxymoron that bothers no one.)

What explains this blizzard of humility and politeness? Taras Grescoe, a Montreal-based writer, believes Canadian niceness is born of necessity. “We’re a small group of people, spread across the second-largest national territory in the world,” he said. “We’ve always known that, in order to survive – or just stay sane – we had to watch out for one another. The old lady down the street, the teenager at the bus stop who forgot to bring a scarf when it’s 5 below. Hence our general willingness to proffer assistance rather than aggression.”

Another explanation for Canadian niceness stems from the “fragment theory”. First posited by the US scholar Louis Hartz, the theory states that colonial societies such as the United States and Canada began as “fragments” of the European nations they were escaping from. These new nations remain, in effect, frozen in time. Thus, Canada retains a conservative, Tory streak – that is, with a more deferential, “nicer” nature than the one embraced by the feisty US founding fathers.

Not everyone believes this is a good thing. Valpy sees Canadian niceness as a defence mechanism, one that “stems from inferiority and an awkward awareness that our clothes don’t fit properly and we always have bad haircuts and really don’t do anything great.”

Canadian athletes at the Sochi Winter Olympics. (Credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty)

Also, in the land of nice, problems sometimes fester because everyone is too nice to say anything. Manjushree Thapa, a writer who recently moved to Canada from Nepal, recalls sitting in a movie theatre when the screen grew dimmer and dimmer as the projection bulb slowly burned out. The screen was almost black but no one spoke up. Exasperated, she finally prodded her Canadian partner to alert the management, which he did, reluctantly. “Niceness can silence people here,” she said.

Overall, though, she’ll take nice any day. And so will I. Life is hard enough, with plenty of jagged edges and pointy bits. Why not coat it with a glaze of politeness and humility? Politeness, at its best, is a way of honouring others, especially strangers. Politeness is the lubricant that makes social interactions run smoothly and reduces the risk of conflagrations. The world, I think, would be a better place if we were all a bit more Canadian.

Fortunately, Canadian niceness is contagious. On my annual northern migration, I find myself slowing down, saying “thank you” and “please” more often that I usually do. Maybe I go too far and cross the line from polite to unctuous. If I do, I can only say, in true Canadian fashion, I’m sorry.

Eric Weiner is a recovering malcontent and philosophical traveler. He is the author of, among other books, The Geography of Bliss and the forthcoming The Geography of Genius. Follow him on Twitter.

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