Thirty-four students from Beijing Concord Sino-Canada College spent 18 unforgettable days in a winter camp in Canada early last month. They traveled from the west coast to the east, covering large cities like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
The winter camp is an education exchange program between the two countries aimed at promoting understanding and communication between Chinese and Canadian youngsters.
The schooling activities formed an important part of the program, with the Chinese students visiting 11 universities and nine Canadian high schools.
"The classes were so different from those we have back home," recalled Chinese student Liu Qian. "The Canadian students were eager to give their opinions. They seldom raised their hands before answering the teacher's questions."
Many Chinese students were also impressed that the classes involved a lot of teamwork.
"In China, we're encouraged to do a job independently while in Canada students focus on learning how to work together," said Liu.
During their stay, the Chinese students lived with different Canadian families, which offered them an opportunity to get involved in local life and improve their English proficiency.
Chinese student Yang Wei was pleased that her presence had helped her Canadian friends know more about China.
"At first, I was surprised to find that they knew little about China except for the Great Wall and China's success in the bid for the 2008 Olympic Games," said Yang about the Peter Worthington family she stayed with in New Brunswick. When Yang told them more about China, the Canadian family became increasingly interested in Chinese culture.
"They were eager to visit our country and see the real China, especially to try Chinese food."
Since its establishment in 1997, Beijing Concord Sino-Canada College has been working on promoting exchange programs.
As well as the short-term winter camp, Chinese students can also take part in other longer programs such as a five-month exchange program in Canada, said the college director Francis Pang. The programs can help students to prepare for later studies in Canada, said Pang.
So far, about 700 graduate students from the college have furthered their studies in Canadian colleges and universities.
(China Daily March 1, 2002)