Setting their sights on China: BC university students travel to Guangdong for short-term study abroad experience

Jan 14, 2019    Source: Chelsea Dibble

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“This was my first time to China, and I already cannot wait to go back,” says Brooke MacNab, an undergraduate student at the University of Victoria. Brooke is one of 25 students from the University of Victoria and the University of Northern British Columbia, who travelled to BC’s sister province on a short-term scholarship program provided by Guangdong Province’s Department of Education.

The group of students spent over 10 days in Guangdong’s capital city, Guangzhou, dividing their time between classroom learning at Jinan University and Southern China University of Technology, and a variety of cultural experiences such as paper cutting, Chinese calligraphy, and traditional Chinese medicine. 

“I'm still kind of in awe that so much happened in such a short period of time,” says Brooke. “When I returned home my mom asked me to describe the trip, and I honestly couldn't find a word to express the feeling of gratitude for being able to go, happiness for all the great experiences and the new friends I met, understanding from learning new bits of cultural and language knowledge, and slight sadness over having to leave so soon.”

Mark Connelly, an undergraduate student from UNBC, and one of three Indigenous students on the trip, says the experience provided him with a new appreciation of the value of travelling abroad.

“My experiences in China make me feel very lucky that I was able to participate in a program that offered so many opportunities for cultural knowledge acquisition, through tours of historical sites and lectures, as well as an opportunity to not only practice and learn the language, but also to just simply meet locals and form intercultural friendships,” says Mark.

Administered by the Government of British Columbia, the scholarship program helps to strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between Guangdong Province and British Columbia, and supports the development of cooperation and exchange in culture, education, science and engineering, and economy and trade. Applications are now being accepted for 2019 for a four-year degree scholarship.