Week 2- Guangzhou, Foshan, Nanning, Xi’an and Baoji

Ni hao- Hello everyone!

As you can probably see from the title of this post, we’ve visited a lot of cities within the past week: Guangzhou–> Foshan–> Nanning was our first big trip in week two. The past two weeks have flown by but in a weird way, it also feels like it’s gone by slow. This is probably because we’ve travelled to so many places in such a short amount of time. We’re beginning to forget what days are what. Since being settled in China for the past few weeks, we’re starting to feel the impacts of travel and being away from Canada.

For Shannon, the food is getting repetitive; noodles/ rice are a stable for EVERY meal of the day here. With our busy schedule it’s difficult to find a western style restaurant, especially being vegan the options are limited. As a daily black coffee drinker, it’s also becoming more and more difficult to find coffee without cream in it, especially the more north we go. Coffee is not as popular as tea in China so my options for coffee are limited to Starbucks, but thankfully there’s one a few steps from the hotel we’re staying at. Starbucks has been a saving grace but it’s almost double the price here compared to Canada (it’s now a treat, not a daily staple). Not to mention, the looks on people’s faces will never get old when they see a blond haired blue eyed foreign girl.

For Doris, experiencing jet lag after almost two years of not experiencing a major time difference has started to set in. It’s been a bit of an adjustment regulating a normal sleep schedule, but other than that, being back in China has gone very smoothly! As of late, no reverse culture shocks to report to any of you!

We made presentations at JJL agencies in Foshan and Nanning with students and their parents. After we had a busy 24 hours of work/travel we headed back to Guangzhou to have our first day off! Doris’s family took us out for morning tea, we got to experience a cable car ride to get a view of the city, visit a Buddhist temple and of course go shopping! Her family was so kind to tour us around for the day and treat us to many great meals. The next night we flew to Xi’an where we stayed for 6 days. The first two days we commuted an hour to Baoji by the bullet train!

Our first day in Baoji, we visited Grace International Language School, sat in on a class with a Canadian teacher and two Chinese students! After class we visited the world famous Bronzeware museum, home to China’s exhibit of civilization in Zhou and Qin dynasties. We participated in a scavenger hunt around the museum with the students and got to learn about some of the historical artifacts on display. Our second day in Baoji, we visited a private elementary school: Baoji High-Tech Number One Middle School. Many of these students have never seen a foreign person before so they went fan-girl/boy over us. We gave them a presentation about life and school in Canada, toured their campus and sat in on a few classes (man these kids have a lot of energy). Since this is a private school, students live on campus Monday-Friday and are scheduled from 6:30am-9:15pm. This was a shock from a Canadian perspective.. Their students asked so many questions, took lots of pictures with us and even asked for our autographs!

The last few days in Xi’an were spent visiting Shannxi Province Travel Agency School and North-West University as well as another agency. We got to tour the campus of the travel agency school and sit in on a few of their classes including a housekeeping class, bartending class, culinary class, etc. It’s amazing that students in China are able to go to specialized schools at such young ages compared to Canadian students. For example, students at the travel agency school were between the ages of 16-18, in other words, they would be in grade 10-12.

On our day off, we were able to travel to the famous Terracotta Army! We had such a great experience; wonderful weather, fantastic knowledgable tour guide and we even had time to see a virtual revival of the historical and cultural museum. Doris has an old friend that lives in Xi’an and he was kind enough to take us out for dinner, tour us around the most central part of the city to walk around and view the tower, light displays and botanical gardens. We’ve had another busy exciting week, next stop Luoyang! Don’t forget to check into our social media and add us on WeChat for more daily updates!

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Week 6- Dalian

Our last week in China seemed to be the longest week of them all- this is likely because we were anxious to fly home. It’s crazy to see how fast a month and a half flies by, and what aspects of Canadian culture you come to miss. For both of us, we missed the air quality, water activities (such as paddle boarding and kayaking) and our significant others. Additionally, eating out for 6 weeks straight was starting to repetitive and less satisfying. Who knew we would miss cooking for ourselves! As mentioned in our previous post, we visited DHITC a few times, toured their campus and met with a few students one on one to answer questions about studying at Georgian College.

Many students came with their family or teachers. One of the days, principal Wong took us out exploring with his beautiful family! He was incredibly kind to take us to Baiyushan Scenic Spot and our for lunch. We also stopped at Xinghai Square. Dalian is a coastal city, so the views were incredible! There were lots of submarines and military ships in the water, and of course lots of birds.

During our free time, we explored the local area around our hotel, did some shopping and went to the fresh food market as much as possible! We went hiking on one of our days off as well to the Big Montenegro closed scenic mountain village. There weren’t a lot of visitors, it was nice and quiet, clean and peaceful. A wonderful woman we met along the way who volunteers at one of the temples was kind enough to show us one of the closed temples, where we were able to make wishes.

We also went to KTV and sang our hearts out for 3 hours! This was a cool experience- private room with snacks and drinks with a variety of songs to chose from both the western and Chinese culture. We were only able to stay in Hong Kong for less than one day, but we managed to make the most of the limited time we had there. AND believe it or not, we found a vegan restaurant not too far from our hotel that wasn’t overly expensive!

Our hotel was conveniently attached to the airport, so we didn’t need to worry about taking taxi’s before flying home. We were able to grab dinner and do some late shopping before our bed time. One cultural difference we noticed was in restaurants, you can be sat with people at a table you may not know in order to optimize more space. At first it was strange sitting across from complete strangers, but it didn’t seem strange after awhile, we even managed to strike up a conversation with them and ask them for directions to the major shopping streets.

Heading on our 15 hour journey home definitely felt longer than the plane ride there. After 6 weeks of intense travel and busy scheduling, we were ready to head back to Canada to our family and friends. This has been the experience of a lifetime- we’ve made so many friends along the way, made great business relationships and we hope it’s not the last time we visit this beautiful country!

 

Week 5- Shenyang, Dalian

WOW! We can’t believe how fast this project has flown by! It’s already week 5 and it feels like week 2. We must admit, the first few weeks felt much longer than the remaining 3. We’re making stops in two cities before we fly home, so there will be lots of final site seeing and presentations to make before July 10!

We had a short two day stay in Shenyang where we made a visit to Shenyang Foreign Language School 2+1 International Class. This school is a public school as well has an international school within it. They teach their students in accordance to Ontario, Canada curriculum, as many of their students choose to study abroad in Canada. Within the school’s name is “2+1” which means two years of high school (grades 10-11) at the international school in Shenyang, and 1 year in Canada for grade 12. This allows students to become more accustomed to Canadian life and education system prior to applying to college or university in Canada. Our first day, we sat in on a geography and math class and ended the day discussing key differences between Canadian and Chinese education, as well what students should expect studying abroad in Canada, specifically at Georgian college. Staff in this department had great questions for us and we were able to bring new insight about college education and courses offered at Georgian!

On our second day, we sat in on two classes with their foreign teacher from the U.S and made our powerpoint presentation to the students. Their main concern was whether or not they were forced to do homework studying in Canada and how many hours of class each week they should expect. Typically, school in China is extremely structured from the moment they wake up until it’s time for them to sleep. Their “free time” is typically filled with mandatory tasks laid out by their school. Students who live on campus must complete homework after classes before going to sleep, which means free time usually means bedtime.

We’ve arrived at the last stop on our tour; Dalian! It’s a beautiful coastal city located in the Northern part of China. The weather is similar Toronto so it’s comfortable for us. The location of our hotel is in a commercial area in Dalian, so we’re surrounded by lots of restaurant and a few smaller clothing stores. We went to a beach located by Discovery Land, however we went on a cooler day and it was very cloudy so we didn’t stay for too long. In addition, we also visited DHITC which is a college in affiliation with Georgian! During our visit we toured campus and had lunch in their cafeteria. Students have just finished up their semester and they are on summer holidays so the school was pretty quiet sides one program which still had one final exam to complete before their holidays were to start. This college enrols students ages 15-18 and they are able to learn valuable skills such as automotive, nursing and electrical skills. This is a great pathway to courses they are able to chose at Georgian College in their future!

Hopefully we will be able to discover more of Dalian during our stay as there is a long history here! Stay in touch and follow us on our social media accounts!

Week 4- Dongying, Beijing

Hello everyone! After our visit in Jinan, we took a 3 hour train ride to Dongying, which is the youngest city in China! It’s population is around 2 million and it’s well known for its oil production! Almost everywhere we looked, there were fracking sites! We made a presentation at Shengli- New Zealand School and sat in on two classes with an American and Canadian teacher! We additionally made another presentation to parents and their children who have interest studying abroad in Canada. It went very successful, as many parents stayed behind to ask questions for 2 hours after the presentation was finished!

After a short and sweet visit in Dongying, we hopped on a flight back to Beijing where we made another presentation at JJL agency and had lunch at a famous duck roasting restaurant. We had two days off, the first of which was spent doing absolutely nothing, and I mean nothing. We stayed in our hotel room all day to recuperate. Doris has caught a cold, so the more rest and fluids the better! Day two, we worked up the courage to get out of our hotel room and join a tour group to The Great Wall! Although the weather was somewhat rainy and cloudy, we had a lovely day trip to one of the seven wonders of the world. It also served as our workout for the day; it’s quite steep and absolutely massive. They don’t call it The Great Wall for nothing!

We’re over halfway through this portion of the project and we’re still learning how to get a handle on the language barrier. Although Doris speaks Chinese, we still both feel the language barrier effects both of us. For Shannon; often times conversations occur and not every sentence or part of a conversation is translated. Additionally, some audiences we give presentations to don’t have a high english level, so Doris must translate and further explain points in more detail, as Chinese and English don’t always translate into one another fluently. For Doris; being the only one who is able to speak Chinese means getting flooded with all of the information and conversations Shannon can’t understand. Translating may seem like an easy task, but it can often be more complicated than it appears. We’ve started to get a better rhythm for the language barrier, however it’s still a work in progress.

One thing we’re very grateful for is our communication skills. For only knowing one another for just under 2 months, we’ve come to know and respect each others train of thought. Communication truly is everything, without it, teamwork simply will fail. Keep in touch everyone and keep an eye out for our posts on social media and live stream videos!

Week 3- Luoyang, Beijing, Jinan

Quote of the week: Don’t be afraid of new beginnings, from new people, new energy, new surroundings, new challenges. Embrace new chances at happiness. 

We had a relaxing and adventurous start to the week! We were fortunate enough to visit two popular attractions sites at the beginning of the week. On our first day we toured the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang. We had a fantastic day in the hot 34 degree sunshine. Our tour included sites of multiple Buddha’s and his disciples carved into caves, Xiangshan Temple and Bai Garden temple. We were lucky to have visited on a weekday so it wasn’t too busy. Our second was at the Whitehorse temple in Luoyang!

We made presentations at two schools in Luoyang; Sino-American School and Mission Private school. Students at Mission school were so welcoming and even made a number of performances for us before we did our presentations! We made lots of new WeChat friends after each visit and we’re still in contact with the students to chat about life in Canada and going to school abroad.

HOWEVER, we had a quick change of schedule midweek. We were supposed to be going to another city, but plans were cancelled last minute, so our supervisors were left to make a new schedule for us on the fly. This amazing team managed to whip up a new 5 day itinerary to replace our lost days with new presentations and meetings with agencies! This new schedule means we got to spend more time in Beijing than initially planned (YAY!) Shoutout to our ICR Sunshine and supervisors and team back in Canada for making sure we weren’t homeless and stranded for 5 days!

Two days off in Beijing meant site seeing! We went to the Forbidden city on the first day. What an incredible experience with perfect weather and lucky us again, it wasn’t too busy! While we were walking around the massive ancient village we were discussing how much work it would’ve taken to have built such a immaculate place and how long it would’ve taken to build everything. It’s as though the city was never ending! The second day we went shopping at a local shopping street and later to a bigger commercial shopping area with high end stores and familiar western brands such as Zara and H&M. It’s currently a holiday in China so there are a higher volume of people at tourist attractions. Imagine if Canadians were all on holiday at the same time, how busy places such as Toronto or Vancouver or Montreal would be… imagine that x100 in China because of the population!

The Saturday at the end of the week we took a train to Jinan for the next part of our project. As mentioned earlier it’s a holiday in China so no matter where you plan to travel within the country, it’s traffic jam after traffic jam. Our hotel was located in the centre of the city so we were fortunate enough to have shopping, food and site seeing within walking distance. Jinan is known for their natural spring waters (so clean you can drink it) and we had a lovely day exploring the city with future Georgian Student Barbara! She was a wonderful tour guide, treated us to the local culture and we were able to answer a number of questions she had about study life at Georgian and Canada.

Our final day consisted of a radio talk show at Shandong Radio and Television. We had a Q&A session for 3 hours, discussing our experiences at Georgian College, life in Canada, and tips and tricks for students that are interested in studying abroad in Canada! Afterwards, we were able to sneak into a live radio session to get an inside look at what their job entails! We have an early train ride to Dongying in the am, so stay tuned for our future endeavours and work experiences! Don’t be afraid to add our WeChat or follow/ connect with our social media!

 

Welcome To Year 2! Week 1- Shenzhen (SIT)

 

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Doris and I at YYZ
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Welcome sign from SIT
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Staff and Students from SIT apart of the project
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Flight attendant Students
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Kelsey teaching her marketing class
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Secretary class
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510- Chinese valentines day
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Classwork with students
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Traditional Chinese tea ceremony class
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Practicing traditional Chinese tea ceremony
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The Dean of SIT Mr. Zhang
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One of the many gifts from the students from SIT (travel pillows or hats?)

Hello everyone! We are extremely excited to have been chosen to be the new student ambassadors for the cultural exchange and social innovation project! We had a bit of a rocky start to the trip, we almost missed our flight but we made it just on time for baggage and boarding! Just as last year, our first stop was at Shenzhen Institute of Technology (SIT) from May 28- June 1, 2018. During our visit we were welcomed with open arms from staff and students and we must say we were SPOILED! Those who worked on the cultural exchange project did a tremendous job touring us around the school, bringing us to different classes and showing us their facilities. The first day we attended a welcoming ceremony where we got our schedule for the week. We learned about the traditional Chinese tea ceremony, had morning tea with the Dean Mr. Zhang and of course the students taught me how to say a few words and phrases in Mandarin! Not to mention, they use so many different picture/video apps on their cell phones and all of the students have been teaching us how to use them! Douyin is a popular video app, we got to make a few videos together with the students. SIT recently started a flight attendants program in which Doris and I attended! This is a program that will soon be offered at Georgian College, we know it will be a success.

We also worked on a project with an alumnae of Georgian College (Kelsey Elliot) whom is teaching Business Marketing at the college! We worked on a video project with her to talk about her experiences working abroad and we were lucky enough to sit in on two of her classes and help her teach. She taught us that when teaching english to foreign students it’s best to speak slowly and clearly. She set a great example for how we should be giving presentations for the rest of the trip!

On the final day of our visit, we had a report meeting between Georgian College representatives and SIT representatives where we reviewed the project, made presentations and performed tea art with the students! It’s amazing how quickly we learned this ceremony and performed in front of so many people! Some of our biggest take aways have been the discipline and strictness of the classes (however still fun and interactive), different courses that they offer (such as wine tasting) and format of classroom (students stay in one class but change teachers for different subjects except optional classes offered to students will be held in different classes).

Doris has been in heaven eating familiar food from her home country and I have been trying many new dishes I’ve never experienced before. HOWEVER, I (Shannon) am vegan so it has been more complicated to expand on food horizons but Doris has been a great help giving me lots of variety of foods to try. Without her, I feel the language barrier would make this experience much more difficult for me, I’m lucky and thankful to have her as my partner in crime for this project!

Within the first 5 days of this trip we have already made so many new friends and memories with staff and students. Our next stops are Guangzhou, Foshan and Nanning. We can’t wait to see what the following weeks will bring!

Week 11 – HCMC, Vietnam – Hanoi, Vietnam

What’s up, everyone?!

We hope that this week you learn some essential information on how you can adjust and adapt to a new culture and your own culture when you return home. If you look up the definition of “reverse culture shock” on google this is what you will find: “The shock suffered by some people when they return home after some years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar”. Although this definition states this can occur after some year’s reverse culture shock can happen after a few months. The experience depends entirely on the person, location and how much they immersed themselves while overseas. We wanted to share some information this week on what to expect from reverse culture shock, before getting into our experiences from the project this week.

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An illustration from our pre-departure presentation

Although everyone’s experience is different, for the most part, these are the stages of reverse culture shock:

Disengagement: This can (and usually) happens before your departure. Essentially what this is, is that you start to feel upset that you’re saying goodbye to all the friends you have made in the place you were. Also, you may make it so that your last few days go by very fast and stay busy so that you do not have time to reflect on your emotions and experiences.
Initial excitement: This typically occurs before your departure. This feeling is similar to when you were preparing for your initial trip to the Country you were visiting. You get excited to return and see your friends and family. During this phase, you might also realize that most people are not as fascinated with your experiences as you wanted them to be. They will listen to your stories but notice they are ready to continue to the next topic of conversation.
Irritability & hostility: At this point, you might feel frustrated, lonely, alienated and may not fully be able to understand why you feel this way. You may find you get irritated quickly and even become critical of others.
Readjustment and adaptation: Gradually you will feel readjusted to life at home. Although you might not fully feel like yourself yet at this point most things will feel normal again and you will fall back into some old routines. BUT things won’t be the same as how you left them – and this is important to remember. You will feel different once you’re adjusted, you may have new attitudes, beliefs, and perspective.

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change” – Stephen Hawking

Next week we plan to include a section with some personal experiences while we go through our journey of reverse culture shock but more importantly some suggestions on how to deal with it healthily.

So! The conclusion of this week’s engagement and presentations was excellent overall. We’ve loved working with everyone in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, Vietnam. We had an excellent performance at TMS Education Agency, Hanoi. The staff from TMS took us for a traditional Vietnamese meal that was delicious. One of our favourite plates was the sticky mango rice. The dinner was great because not only did we learn more about Vietnam we also had time to share knowledge about Georgian College, Barrie, and Canada. During our time in Hanoi, we also went to an agency fair and had a large segment during IDP’s pre-departure presentation to speak with many students and parents. The questions during the pre-departure presentation at IDP were fantastic, and we made a great connection with everyone there.

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Dinner with the TMS staff, Hanoi

We ended our week visiting a tourist destination called Halong Bay during our few days off. Halong Bay is a beautiful area in Northern Vietnam that has emerald water with limestone pillars. It’s surrounded by tiny islands and picturesque forests. The region has many grottoes and is a designated World Heritage site since 1994. We spent our two days there with a nice couple from Minnesota and a lovely family from Korea. One activity we loved was learning how to make traditional Vietnamese spring rolls.

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Halong Bay

Week 12 will feature some our personal experiences of what it’s like to return home after living in an entirely different culture. Below are some pictures of all of our adventures this week!

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Halong Bay
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Traditional Vietnamese Pho
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Presentation @ TMS, Hanoi
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Halong Bay
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Caves, Halong Bay

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Agency Fair, Hanoi
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TMS Presentation, Hanoi
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Floating Village, Halong Bay
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Jelly Fish! Halong Bay
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Halong Bay
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Halong Bay
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Presentation at IDP agency, Hanoi
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Agency Fair, Hanoi
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Presentation at IDP agency, Hanoi
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Mango sticky rice (on the right) Hanoi, Vietnam
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Floating Village, Halong Bay
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Halong Bay
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Halong Bay
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Halong Bay
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TMS agency, Hanoi
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Learning how to make Vietnamese spring rolls
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Presentation at IDP agency, Hanoi

 

 

 

Week 10 – Shanghai, China – Bangkok, Thailand – HCMC, Vietnam

Hey, everyone!
We hope so far you have gained some valuable knowledge of the East Asian culture from reading our posts. This time before we share our weekly experiences we decided to write a section including five tips of how to have the best experience when studying or working abroad.

We have traveled and worked in seventeen cities within China two in Thailand and one in Vietnam (so far). Within these places, we’ve spoken to numerous students, parents, and employees from all over East Asia about how they can get the best out of their time when they go abroad for school. Studying or working abroad is a BIG decision! It isn’t like going to the mall to pick out a new outfit; it’s a huge step forward to bettering your future and ultimately your career. It’s an investment of your time, money and life. We hope that if you are going abroad soon or even if it is something you decide to do in the future that you take our advice into consideration.

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5 Crucial tips of how to have the best experience studying or working abroad:

1. Use the amenities & services
Take the time to find out what services are included in your tuition fees/benefits when you are studying at a new school or working at a new job! Take advantage of these amenities they will better your overall knowledge as a student & as a professional. Some examples of amenities that full time students get at Georgian College are: Peer mentoring, tutoring, counselling, health insurance, the writing center, the athletic center (gym membership), research help, and IT support. There are also a numerous amount of events & activities provided by GCSA (Georgian College Students Association) and many more services to better your success.

2. Join a team/club, activity that you enjoy, or have interest in learning about                                                       Getting involved will help you meet new people and build long lasting friendships. Be sure to check out what the Student Association has to offer where your located and how you can get involved. At Georgian College (Barrie Campus) we have the Georgian College Students Association (GCSA). If you have an idea of a new club that you want to start, you can go to GCSA and turn that idea into reality. Regardless of if your serious about playing a sport, or just want to play for fun, we have varsity sports team, intramurals, extramurals as well as so many other options within the Athletic Center department.

3. Make friends with residents
When you create good friendships with people that live in the area your residing in this will help you learn more about the culture, and ultimately learn how to adapt faster. For both of us, so many friendships that we have are with people from the culture we have visited. From doing this, we have built great connections for our careers. Most importantly though, doing this helps you learn valuable information that you wouldn’t learn from a book or a classroom setting. Ask questions and be curious it is the best way you can fully discover what you want to know about where you are.

4. Speak the Language!
This one is so important. Too many times people travel abroad, spending so much money and time with an end goal to adapt but then stay in their comfort zone. They find a group of friends that all speak the same language as them and they live day to day as if they would have if they were still living back home. We are writing this tip here to suggest to you don’t be shy or ashamed of making mistakes when you’re learning a new language! If you don’t make mistakes, you will never learn. The more that you speak the language of the culture you’re in, the quicker you will learn and the quicker that you learn, the more you will grow. Take the time to think deeply about your end goal. During the times that you feel uncomfortable, focus on why you started.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”
– Albert Einstein

5. Volunteer
Volunteering is also a great way to meet new people and learn about the culture. Sometimes when you go abroad at first, it can feel like you’re doing a lot all at once. Volunteering will help distract your mind if you’re feeling overwhelmed about studies or work. Even if you just volunteer for one or two hours a week, it’s a great way to help others and get involved with your campus or city. Instead of thinking that volunteering will just “add more to your schedule” see it as an activity to clear your mind. Also, it looks great on your resume in Canada ;)!

So, do you want to know what we did while we had our quick vacation stop in Bangkok, Thailand?! At first the thought of relaxing poolside and enjoying our time off felt like a great idea when we arrived in Bangkok, BUT we decided to do the total opposite and fill our days with activities! Our friend from Australia recommended a great driver, Suthep. He took us to a couple of authentic areas in and around Bangkok. On the days that we weren’t with Suthep, we filled our time with some fun stuff as well. Our itinerary went as follows:

July 16th – Arrive in Bangkok, visit chatuchak market, check into hotel, get Thai massages at Health land (they were incredible), dinner.

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Our masseuses

July 17th –  Three hour Bicycle tour  with “Co Van Kessel, Bangkok Tours” (highly recommend them), lunch, back to Health land for a relaxing massage, meet with our Aussie & Thai friends have dinner at Khao San Road (backpacker area) thanks for a great time Carly, Peter & Anchelee!

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Peter & Carly 🙂

July 18th – Meet Suthep, drive to see the elephants, walk around Amphoe Bang Lamung, eat delicious Thai food for lunch (found the best pad thai), spend time at Nang rum Beach near Pattaya, meet our Canadian friend, Brittany for dinner and rooftop drinks on Sukhumvit 11

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Refreshing drinks with Brittany!

July 19th – Meet with Suthep and get Thai tattoos, lunch at Khao San Road, bargaining at Khao San Road, visit The Grand Palace, dinner and adventuring around, pack for our flight the next day

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The final product!

July 20th – Breakfast, adventure around Sukhumvit Road, drive to airport to head to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam!

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Our airport driver – Wee! (He loved our singing and by our we mean Melissa’s)

When we arrived to Ho Chi Minh city (HCMC), we had three great presentations. HCMC is located in the south-eastern region of the country and is the largest city in Vietnam by population. Our first presentation was with Loc, at IDP Agency, the second at the TMS agency and the third was with Loc again but for a pre-departure meeting for students going abroad. All the presentations were fantastic, and the students were so eager to learn about how the student life is in Canada. We would like to thank everyone who helped us in Ho Chi Minh city. Although our visit was short, we had such a great time with all of you!

Next week we are off to Hanoi, Vietnam then back to China! Stay tuned for next weeks post, we are going to share some great information about reverse culture shock. As always, the rest of our photos are posted below. Also we would love to hear from you, leave us a comment and share our blog!

Until next time,

Melissa & Paulo

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Paulo sharing his knowledge at IDP Agency, HCMC Vietnam
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Our bike tour group!
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Our driver, Suthep!
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After our presentation @ IDP with Loc!
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Pad Thai (sooo delicious)

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TMS Agency, HCMC Vietnam
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Khao San Road, Bangkok Thailand
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Bike Tour – Bangkok Thailand
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Somewhere in Thailand
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Nang Rum Beach, Thailand
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Tattoo time!
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Rooftop pool!
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Basic Thai language
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On the move!
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Presentation & engagement at IDP agency, HCMC Vietnam
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Thanks for reading everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 08 & 09 – Xian – Baoji – Nanjing – Suzhou – Shanghai

Yes, you read the title correctly! Four train rides, one flight and a lot of coffee! Five cities in two weeks. These past two weeks have been very busy and productive week for our project. We have had many opportunities to share more about what life is like as a student at Georgian College this week and have yet again met so many amazing students, parents and staff in East Asia.

The first agency we went to was called Fenghu International Education. We had so much fun giving our presentation because it was more like a conversation (also they brought us ice cream haha). The presentation was amazing because many of the staff at this agency had previous experience working abroad. We felt this day was very purposeful because everyone was very open minded and we shared a lot of insights with the staff members.

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Fengu International Education, Xi’an

After leaving Xi’an we spent two days in a city called Baoji. Baoji is 138 KM from Xi’an and we took the high-speed train to get there. WOW, we were so impressed when we arrived at The Grace Language School! The students prepared a very nice welcome party for us, we played Pictionary, Taboo and ate cake. The students at Grace were so kind we loved spending time with them and learned a lot of valuable information during our visit. Our first evening in Baoji we had an amazing dinner with the principle, Misty and a few staff members from Grace school. We built a great connection and relationship with them and this opened many opportunities for Georgian College students & graduates. Our second day at Grace we went to The Baoji Museum of Chinese Bronze Age Culture with the students. The bronze age in China began around 2000 B.C. We included a picture below of the front that says “Kingdom of China” that we saw in The Bronze Museum. The tour guide explained to us that the letters were part of the first flag of China’s in history and the first style of how the Chinese create their national flag. The rest of our time with the Grace students was spent watching their presentations regarding their thoughts on the time they spent with us. We were so impressed with the confidence of the students and their presentations were amazing. After watching their presentation, we had the opportunity to do ours and share with them more about Canada and Georgian College. The vision that Misty and the staff at Grace has for their students is beautiful and we loved all of the memories we created during our time there.

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Kingdom of China
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Welcome party @ Grace, Baoji

Our next stop was to Nanjing where we spent our day at an agency fair answering questions from students curious about studying abroad in Canada. From Nanjing, we went to a Suzhou where we attended another agency fair that was very similar.

Week 09 was spent in Shanghai! We were very excited for Shanghai because everyone kept telling us how amazing of a city it is and we had the chance to meet with Paulo’s friends that are living in Shanghai all the way from Germany!

In Shanghai we visited JJL agency, Shanghai International Studies University, Can-Achieve Education agency, and Liu Sue 360 Agency. Our time spent with the students, parents and staff in Shanghai was great. One night we had the opportunity to go for a nice dinner with a student, Bob and his family. Bob will be joining us at Georgian in September! His family took us to see some of the city and introduced us to some local Shanghai cuisine.

We also spent some time with Paulo’s friend’s Mirko and Juli that are from Germany. It was nice because they shared a lot of great insight and knowledge about how it has been working Shanghai. They took us to an amazing rooftop patio that overlooked the two sides of the city and we shared a lot of cultural differences of Brazil, Germany, Canada and China. We want to send a huge thank you to Mirko and Juli for showing us the city – see you in Australia next year! 😉

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Hanging out in Shanghai!

                       “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahil

Our next adventure will begin in Bangkok, Thailand! Bangkok will be a quick 4 day vacation for us. Stay tuned for more amazing updates & photos! Just like the other weeks all of our photos are posted below. Enjoy!
Until next time,

Melissa & Paulo

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International agency fair, Nanjing
Dinner in Shanghai
Dinner in Shanghai
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Shanghai International Studies
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International agency fair, Suzhou
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Can Achieve Education, Shanghai
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Rooftop view, Shanghai
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Paulo & Evan doing Ronaldo’s signature move, Grace school
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English only, Grace School, Baoji
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Our museum scavenger hunt in Baoji with the students!
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Liu Sue 360 Agency, Shanghai
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Lunch with the students from Grace!
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Dinner in Baoji
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International agency fair, Suzhou
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Dinner with Bob & his amazing family! See you in September @ Georgian Bob!
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Our favourite Italian restaurant in Shanghai!
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Shanghai!
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Presentation @ Liu Sue 360 Agency, Shanghai
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Lunch time with students @ Grace, Baoji!
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Street views, Shanghai

 

 

 

 

 

Week 07 – Kunming – Xi’an, China

What’s up Everyone!?

We want to start out this week by thanking all of our readers for sending us such amazing comments & sharing our posts! This week we have included a few funny video’s featuring Melissa eating some interesting food choices after losing a card game. We can’t believe that we are already ending our seventh week in East Asia and we are very grateful that we’ve spent our time in 15 cities in China already! This week we have felt the transition from adapting to feeling confident living in East Asia because of all the knowledge we have gained about the culture. A lot of things that normally took us so long to do when we first got here, now takes less time. Just from learning a few simple phrases and words in the local language it has helped us a long way.

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Card game penalties!

We had a conversation with one of the Georgian College counsellors to express some feelings that we were having like feeling homesick, really missing our food, friends, family, our routine, and having English conversations. During the discussion, we found out that week seven is one of the most crucial weeks when working or studying abroad. We learned that it very common for people to quit, pack up and head home during week seven because it is when everything starts to feel the most overwhelming. The positive side of this is that we didn’t give up, pushed through these barriers and gained a new level of personal growth and perspective. We encourage anyone who is traveling for this long or plans to, never give up. It is so rewarding when you see how far you have come from the start.

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  – Marcel Proust 

This week we spent some quality time with a Chinese student, Manning who will be joining us at Georgian College in September. We met her family, and many of her good friends that have the high interest in studying abroad and she even took us to Yunnan Safari Park to see the Pandas! We had a delicious dinner with Manning and her family, and they introduced us to the traditional rice noodle dish that is best served in Kunming, China. A good friend of ours, Joey Di from China that is joining us at Georgian this year shared with us that he got a part-time job at Georgian College! We met Joey at the start of our co-op and he told us he was looking for a job to have during his studies at Georgian, he had a video call interview and will be starting at “The First Class” (our on campus restaurant at Georgian) in September! We are so excited for you Joey, see you in September!

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Most of our time in Kunming was spent visiting agencies in the area. The agencies we visited were: Eastern Language School (China Service Center for Friendship and Cooperation with Foreign Countries), Meishi International Education, and AW Education International Agency. We built great connections with the staff of these agencies and strongly believe that we helped them gain a better understanding and knowledge of the student life at Georgian College and the Canadian culture. We met a lot of students that expressed interest in studying in Canada, and they were very excited to learn about Canada and Georgian. The owner of one agency we visited is a partner with a school that has 2000 students, this was a great chance for us to introduce Georgian College and discuss more ideas about working together. Most of the agencies in Kunming are just starting to open in Canadian markets, so we felt that our engagement this week was very successful overall.

After our time in Kunming, we took a flight to Xi’an. OMG, it was the worst flight we have ever been on. The turbulence was so strong that at one point we looked at each other and said “It was nice to meet you, thank you so much for being such a good friend, goodbye, ” and we started laughing. After stressing out about whether the plane was going to land or not, we arrived safely. We were very excited for Xi’an because one of our presentations at the Northwest University was for a group of international students from Korea. The students were so welcoming, friendly, and they loved learning about Canadian culture, they also explained to us more about the Korean culture. While we were in Xi’an, we visited another JJL agency and met several students all from different cities of China. We were very impressed with the students because of how well they spoke English and how personable they all were.

When you are traveling like we are you crave home cooked meals, it doesn’t matter if you have meals from the best restaurants, you will still miss home cooked meals. We were so happy that our ICR and good friend, Xiaoling had us over for dinner one night in Xi’an. She cooked us an amazing dinner with lots of options and even chicken wings that were made from a Coca-Cola sauce! We brought the game “Uno” to Xiaoling’s, and the group of us created some penalties for the person who lost each round of the card game. For the first few rounds, the loser had to eat one food item that was selected. The last round we decided to triple the penalty to 3 food items! Melissa lost, and we recorded a video showing what she had to eat. We have included many photos and videos this week below as well.

We would like to hear from you! Leave us a comment explaining which food option would you choose if you lost at Uno.

What would you choose?!

Option 1: The 1000-year-old Egg
Option 2: A dried peach soaked in vinegar for 20 minutes
Option 3: A piece of fermented bean curd (Also defined as soy cheese or preserved tofu – The ingredients typically are salt, rice wine, oil, and vinegar).
(Pictures included below for you to reference your choice).

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1000 year old egg (Option 1)
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Fermented bean curd (Option 2)
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Peaches soaked in Vinegar (Option 3)

Our next week will be spent traveling to a lot of different areas of China for short periods of time, so we will constantly be on the move! Make sure to stay tuned for our next blog post.
Thanks everyone! (More photo’s below from week 07)

Melissa & Paulo

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Rice noodle dinner with Manning & her Family
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Meeting with Lucy – Kunming
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Train to Xi’an
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View of Kunming city
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Yunnan Safari Park
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Yunnan Safari Park
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Xi’an Hotel Lobby – After a hard days work
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Survived the flight! 😛
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Presentation at JJL, Xi’an
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Meeting at AW Educational International Agency, Kunming
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Selfie with our new friends
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Presentation at Northwest University, Xi’an
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Engagement with international students from Korea, Northwest University – Xi’an
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Celebration Canada Day!

Week 05 & 06 – Xi’an – Kunming, China

The start of week five in East Asia was spent in Xi’an. Xi’an is located in the northern central part of China. It is the capital city of 13 different Chinese dynasties, and has a long and storied history. Our first day in the city we had lunch at a local restaurant with one of the parents of a Georgian College student. The second day we had two presentations at The Shaanxi Institute of Trade & Commerce and visited a tourist area called Ma Wei Yi. Our presentations at this school were great because there was a mixture of students from different campus’s. Two of the students had a lot of interest in Tourism and Hospitality and it was great because Melissa could speak from experience in that industry and share some insight with them. Ma Wei Yi is an area that is famous because it is where the famous imperial concubine, Lady Yang is said to have died. Lady Yang was the concubine of Li Longji, Emperor Xuanzong Li, Tang Dynesty. There is also a myth that she actually didn’t die and fled to Japan and some people in Japan believe that they are her Grand Children. Ma Wei Yi was amazing because it has many places with local food and was a great opportunity for us to learn more about the Chinese culture. One specific booth sold beetles and scorpions to eat! We asked about the reasoning behind this and apparently, they are very good for your health, and they are used for medicinal purposes such as helping with arthritis.

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Boarding the plane to Kunming

After Xi’an we took a one hour flight to a city called Kunming. Since being in Kunming we have had a few presentations for students, parents & agents at multiple agencies. During our presentation at an Agency called New Oriental a student that was still thinking about coming to Canada decided to come to Georgian! We also attended a promotional fair/event and had a lot of engagement with students at Hengshui high school, Chuxiong Experimental Middle School. One interesting food item we learned about in Kunming was the edible flowers. Kunming is very well known for the jasmine and chrysanthemum (in Chinese it’s called Ju Hua) flower. They are made into pastry’s and have great health benefits for your skin.

This week we decided to include a section for our readers about the learnings of studying and working abroad. We wanted to incorporate this to help people better understand how life is when your abroad in hopes it will help prepare your mindset before departure.

Here are some key tips we’ve learned so far:

– When you are in another country be prepared for things that would normally be simple to accomplish to take way longer than they would in your home country

– If where you are traveling to has an extreme time difference be aware of this. It took us about a week if not longer for our stomachs to adjust to the time change of meals, sleep, and begin to process the time change. Also, listen to your body. If you feel like you need to rest make sure to do this or you will tire yourself out.

– Learn how to ask for simple things in the language such as: Hello, How are you? Thank you, Excuse me, Can you help me. One thing we have done to help ourselves with this is used Voice Notes on our cell phones with words we commonly use and also screen shot images of words in Chinese to show when we need to translate something to someone.

– Research any apps that are popular in the place your traveling to that may help you with the language or day to day life. In China, the most popular one is “Wechat” – It is used for practically everything here.

– Keep an open mind when it comes to trying new food & beverages
(This is so important – because when you have expectations for things to taste a certain way and they don’t – it can be a huge let down).

– Let go of your comforts. This is SO important. When you are living abroad especially in a place that is a different language be prepared that you WILL feel uncomfortable. This is okay, when you are uncomfortable your growing, and when your growing you reach new levels in a personal and professional way.

– Be patient with yourself. We believe this to be one of the most important points that we have learned. It is so easy to be hard on yourself, but the important thing is to know that you are trying your best and that you are not in your comfort zone so it’s okay to make mistakes. Learn how to laugh, and move forward.

– Know you triggers. And know how to defeat them. Learn what activates your frustrations and pushes you over the edge.
Melissa –  For me it is hunger. When I get hungry it pushes me into a mode of frustration. What I have learned is to always have back up snacks just in case to tide me over until I can’t find a meal. I also bring protein shakes with me everywhere just incase.
Paulo – For me it’s when there isn’t air conditioning in my hotel room (especially with how hot it is in China). So what I have learned to do is always make sure to have an extra fan with me and set it by my bed side table just in case, and whenever I check into a hotel room I make sure the air conditioning works, if it doesn’t I have learned to just open the windows and work with what I have.

– Know your strengths and times of focus
What we mean by this is to understand when you work at your best. Sometimes when your going through culture shock, and are homesick it’s easy to push tasks off to the side and “do them tomorrow” when you know when you work best (Evening, First thing in the morning, afternoon etc.) take note of this and work on what needs to get finished during those time frames.

– Learn how to not always be the one who is in control
This one was HARD for both of us to accept. We have learned that our schedule is going to change regardless of how solidified we might think it is. Instead of getting frustrated and putting energy towards this, just understand “Okay this is how it’s going to be, no problem” and accept that things will change – and that is totally okay!

Next week we are headed back to Xi’an and then to a new city called Nanjing!
We want to thank all of our readers and followers for commenting on our blog and sending us emails! We hope that our tips this week are helpful for anyone who is going to be working or studying abroad and that you enjoy our photos we shared below.

Paulo & Melissa

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Ping Pong game at a Family dinner, Kunming
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Edible flowers shop
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Rose flower (dessert)

 

Trying to catch a taxi in Kunming, China

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Student engagement at Shaanxi Institute of Trade & Commerce, Xi’an
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Welcome lunch in Xi’an!
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Kunming event/fair
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Tea & Art lesson in Kunming (No Melissa didn’t paint this – I wish I did)
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Meeting with Rachael from Reyoung Agency, Kunming
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Before our Presentation at New Oriental Agency, Kunming
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After the presentation @ New Oriental – Our new Georgian College student Levi! So nice to meet you and excited to see you in January

 

Snacks @ Ma Wei Yi – Scorpions & Beetles

 

Yum Yum

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Student event, Kunming
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Interesting snacks @ the Grocery Store
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More snack options
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Packaged meat as a snack, very interesting

 

Our friend Manning playing the Cucurbit flute, (Chinese – Hulusi) after a family dinner

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After our student and staff presentation @ JJL, Kunming
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Found a pool in the hotel!
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New Oriental Agency, Kunming
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Student Engagement @ Shaanxi Institute of Trade & Commerce, Xi’an
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Karaoke Booths in the Mall! These are everywhere in China
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Art Lesson, Kunming
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Student event, Kunming

 

Week 04 – Beijing – Luoyang, China

Hi, everyone! We are so happy to see how many people have been reading our blog every week we will be sharing more information about the cities that we are visiting and a few travel tips. This week’s journey started in Beijing and ended in Luoyang. Our schedule has been very busy, our days have consisted of networking and building relationships with partnerships to open job opportunities for Georgian College students, conducting presentations, meeting new students and we even got a chance to learn more about the history of the Chinese culture.
We have realized that things that are normally so simple when you are in your comfort zone, it is totally different when you are working abroad in a different culture with a non-stop schedule. We were so happy to meet our Manager Lily Loa Da (In Chinese this means Boss) that came from Canada to work with us.

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Working together in Beijing

We conducted a few presentations in Beijing. The first was at JJL, an agency where we had the pleasure to work with Sunshine (Georgian College – In-Country Representative) from Beijing and Gloria (Staff member of JJL). The presentation was very productive because we had a chance to talk with all of the JJL staff and a few potential students for GC. After our presentation one of the students that was listening decided that she will join us at Georgian next year.

The second presentation was at a High school that is attached to the Northeast Normal University, the Chaoyang School. We had an incredible time and engaged with all of the students that were there listening to us. Towards the end of the presentation, there were many students volunteering to ask questions and take pictures with us. Also, we had the opportunity to sit in on a tea lesson on campus and have a tour of the school. It was very nice to see how much of the extra-curricular activities the school had to offer to their students.

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Presentation at JJL – Beijing
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Presentation & student engagement at the Northeast Normal University, the Chaoyang School

Aside from work, we wanted to learn more about the Chinese history while we were in Beijing. On our day off we took a tour to Mutianyu, The Great Wall. Mutianyu is one of the best preserved and well-known Great Wall sections that is less crowded with tourists. It’s located 65KM (40 miles) to the North of Beijing City. The surrounding natural scenery is breathtaking, and forest covers 96% of the scenic area. It was first built in Northern Qi Dynasty and was later rebuilt by two famous Patriotic Generals Tan Lun & Qi Jiguang to strengthen the defensive potential when they guarded the strategic pass. We took the cable car to No. 14 and hiked to watch tower 23. It was really hot outside, and we ran out of water about half way up. Someone told us that when we reach the top that there was water for sale, but when we got there we sadly figured out there wasn’t!

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The Great Wall, Mutianyu
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The Great Wall

When we arrived in Luoyang our first, and main stop was Luo Yang Dongfang Foreign Language school. When we walked in there were so many students running up to us wanting to take photos, and a lot of people saying look “Foreigners!” This school is a boarding school, and it had children from younger grades all the way up to grade 11 that wanted to hang out with us. The presentation went great, and we had a student volunteer that wanted to sing! The student sang Justin Bieber for everyone. Many of the students were asking questions to Paulo about the challenges of studying in a new country, where you don’t speak the language and aren’t familiar with the food and the weather. We believe having the two of us here (a Domestic student & an International student) has been helping the students in East Asia see that it isn’t as scary as they think to go abroad and that Canadian’s (especially at Georgian College and Barrie Community) are so welcoming & helpful with everything.

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Feeling famous – At Luo Yang Dongfang Foreign Language school

We had one day off in Luoyang, and even though we were extremely exhausted, everyone kept telling us that we had to check out the Longmen Shiku Cave & The Shaolin Temple. The Luoyang Shiku caves has some of the finest examples of Buddhist art, with as many as 100,000 statues inside 2,345 caves. The Shaolin Temple is considered “The Birthplace of Kung Fu” and dates back 1,5000 years ago. It is the main Temple of the Shaolin school of Buddhism to this day. On our way to this destination, we saw something very different that was tough to see. One small city area we drove through had cages with all types of animals being sold for consumption. We did happen to see one cage with small dogs in it, and we had to look away. One stereotype in North America is that the Chinese people “eat dogs, ” but we have learned this is not a popular thing or a common occurrence. Another thing we noticed in Luoyang was that the air quality due to pollution was heavy and we did find it harder to breathe in comparison to other cities we have been to in China. During the drive back to our hotel, we were terrified because our driver decided to take a shortcut and go on the other side of the highway into ongoing traffic! Afterward, we were laughing so hard, but during this time we didn’t know what to do as we had no control of what was going on.

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Longmen Shiku Cave’s

A week ago we saw a funny youtube video of two friends that play a game called “The Floor is Lava.” It’s when one person says “The floor is lava!” and takes a recording on their phone while the other person has 5 seconds to find something to stand on that isn’t the floor. We’ve been playing this game, and it has been really fun, so we wanted to start sharing videos of the places in China we’ve been doing this.

This co-op has already helped us learn how to adapt and grow so much. We know that we are going to be returning to Georgian College as better versions of ourselves and that our understanding of working with people from other cultures is rapidly developing.

We hope everyone can leave us a comment and if you would like to know any information that we did not post here, feel free to send us a message. Below are more photo’s from our week!

Paulo & Melissa

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Presentation at The Northeast Normal University, the Chaoyang School – Beijing
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Luo Yang Dongfang Foreign Language school
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No more stairs please! #thegreatwall
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Student Engagement – Luo Yang Dongfang Foreign Language school
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Before our Presentation – Beijing
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The Northeast Normal University, the Chaoyang School – Beijing

The floor is Lava! (At the Mall)

The Shaolin Temple

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The Longmen Shiku Cave’s

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Paulo sharing his story – Beijing
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On our way to Beijing with Sunshine!

Wuhan – Dalian – Tianjin

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Dalian Maple Leaf Campus – After our Presentation

Week 3 in China for us was very busy. It’s funny because sometimes we have to stop for a second to remember what city we are in and what day it is. This week we started our journey in a city called Wuhan. As soon as we landed, we realized that the weather in this city was a lot hotter than what we have been used to so far on our trip. We thought the heat in Shenzen was a lot to handle, but after arriving in Wuhan, we realized how humid and muggy the air was in comparison to the other cities. We spent our days in Wuhan at the Maple Leaf school. The first day was amazing because we had the chance to watch the 10-year Anniversary presentation. We were extremely impressed with all of the performances, and most of them were in English! Aside from work, we had a few interesting things that happened in Wuhan that we wanted to share. The second night we decided to go into the city area to have a dinner, and before leaving to go back to the hotel, we wanted to stop at Walmart. We were so intrigued by all of the different foods around us, so we kept walking around and then all of a sudden we realized we had walked into the meat section… right in front of us there they were… live frogs, and turtles. Not something you see every day in Canada and Brazil. The night after this we decided we wanted to have dinner with some of the staff and students from Wuhan Maple Leaf school. The first restaurant we walked into had cages right at the front with snakes, rabbits, and some turtles to chose from to eat. As soon as we saw this, we walked right back out and went to another place. Thankfully we found a great Chinese restaurant and had an amazing time with our new Wuhan friends.

Our next stop, Dalian! After a one hour flight, we visited a school called Minzu University. We had such a great visit with the students at this campus and had an awesome time to share experiences about the differences between Canada, China, and Brazil. The students loved learning about all of the activities at Georgian College, and we felt like this visit was very impactful. During this day we took a quick trip to a mountain top called “The Golden Boy Flying Ox Mountain.” We learned about the history of this mountain and the legend behind it. The story states that the local people who lived in the mountains had barely anything left to eat and little money. The last of what they had remaining was taken from them by “Monsters that rose from the sea.” The monsters tried to take over all they had left. Then, the golden baby came to protect the people and killed all of the monsters. The golden baby saved them. The people created a sculpture to honor the baby and pass on the baby’s legend.

The next school we visited was Dalian Maple Leaf! Our schedule at Dalian, Maple Leaf was jam packed with activities, and we were really happy about this. There were many highlights from this two-day visit, and we were so pleased with all of the engagement at this campus. One highlight of this visit was making blueberry pancakes in a culinary class with one of the Canadian teachers from British Columbia, Kelly. The class was amazing, the students were so nice, and we could see how much they were truly passionate about the culinary course. Our last day at Maple Leaf, Dalian campus we had an amazing presentation that we could tell that the students really enjoyed because they had so many questions about the student life in Canada at Georgian College. We had an interview with a few Maple Leaf journalists where we had a chance to explain the purpose of our co-op project.The last day in Dalian we went to watch the Maple Leaf English musical. It was Romeo & Juliet, and we were very captivated because of how well all of the students spoke English!

We wanted to thank all of the Maple Leaf staff, and a special thank you to Fei and Tracey, for everything you did for us during our visit. Also, we met our absolute favourite cab driver, Wei Zang who didn’t speak a word of English but treated us like we were family! It’s so comforting when you are very far from home, and you meet people that truly care about your health and safety.

Something we can laugh at now, but at the time couldn’t was Melissa’s hospital visit. During lunch one day there was a tasty looking soup on the table. So, as usual, Melissa decided to drink some (two bowls to be exact). After finishing the second bowl and about to help myself to a third I (Melissa) asked: “Is this Coconut with red pepper soup?” The response was, “It is actually ovary of the digestive gland of crab.” We looked at each other while trying to remain professional and laughed on the inside… and kept straight faces. Afterward, Paulo was laughing so hard. We spent the next day in the hospital because Melissa was so sick from the soup. Safe to say, we will not be drinking any more seafood soup.

Our third school visit during week 3 was Maple Leaf, Tianjin campus. We took a 4-hour train to this location and spent half a day doing student engagement as well as an hour presentation. The presentation was very casual, and we felt it was extremely effective.

The hotel that we stayed at for one night in Tianjin was great. We were so thankful that they had somewhere for us to do laundry! Also, all of the materials and products used at this hotel were “green” & “eco-friendly.”

We would like to give a big thank you and shout out to Sunshine, the ICR that we have been spending a lot of time working with this past week. We are so happy that we got to spend time with you!
Our next destination is Beijing and Luoyang. We are very excited for this because we have a presentation at JJL agency & who doesn’t love Big cities?!? We are going to be learning more about the history of the Chinese culture.

We want to thank all of our readers, and encourage you to comment on our posts & share our blog!

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Maple Leaf, Dalian CampusWeChat Image_20170614111318
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Flag Ceremony – Canadian Teacherswechat-image_20170614111428.jpgOur security friend from Maple Leafe DalianWeChat Image_20170614111419
Maple Leaf, Dalian Campus – Culinary Class! (Featuring blueberry pancakes)WeChat Image_20170614110906
The start of our creation! Yummy

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Maple Leaf, Culinary class – Dalian CampusWeChat Image_20170614111346
Meeting with Maple Leaf, Dalian Campus faculty WeChat Image_20170614110933
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Salad, veggies and some other Chinese options

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… the killer soup! (With tofu in it)WeChat Image_20170614111314Dalian City

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The legend of the Golden Boy

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After hiking the mountainwechat-image_20170614113007.jpg
Maple Leaf, Wuhan CampusWeChat Image_20170614112949
Dinner in Wuhan with Jacey – Student & her family, & Robin – FacultyWeChat Image_20170614112955
Maple Leaf, Wuhan Campus Student Union/Student Council Meet & Greet/ EngagementWeChat Image_20170614113000
Maple Leaf, Wuhan Campus – Culinary class (Lasagna!)WeChat Image_20170614113227
Maple Leaf, Tianjin Campus student engagement & presentationWeChat Image_20170614113004
Arriving at Maple Leaf, Wuhan Campus (It’s way hotter than Canada & Brazil here! haha)

 

Week 02 Shenzhen – Guangzhou – Foshan, China

Week 02  Shenzhen – Guangzhou – Foshan

Week two in Guangzhou was a roller coaster ride. We started to adapt to life in China, and we found a great Western restaurant that had amazing Italian food called Oggi. It was nice to find some comfort food. However, we have been very busy with our activities, events, and engagement with our new Chinese friends and partners. Most people that follow our social media platforms probably think “Wow, that looks like a great vacation, it seems so glamorous” but what isn’t seen is the difference of traveling as a tourist vs. for business. We have, to be honest, that the past two weeks have been the busiest times so far in our lives. Although it has been so busy, we have been learning so much and developing our leadership skills so much that we see and feel so much value in what we are doing.

This week we had the opportunity to spend time at Guangzhou Maritime University (GMU)
Where we had the chance to network with many amazing students from the Business English and International business departments. At the end of our stay, we did an excellent presentation for a large group of students and exchanged information about our cultures as well as shared Georgian College’s student life. The students at GMU taught us a lot about the historic arts and Chinese character writing. Our most important take away from this visit was that we received a better understanding of the Chinese University perspective in comparison to the Canadian educational system.

A fun fact about this week was that when we arrived at the hotel the first night, the power went out, and all the plumbing didn’t work. The next day we changed to a hotel that was a little further away from the campus but had more cuisine options around it and more of a city-like vibe. The sad side of this story is that Paulo’s wallet was stolen… thankfully our passports were separate.

On day two at GMU, we had an issue with our morning transportation that resulted in Paulo walking around in the pouring rain on the street trying to find a taxi… (keep in mind no one speaks English). After finally flagging down a cab we ended up getting Starbucks coffee (It tasted so amazing and felt like a high reward) and then headed to the school for the day! Paulo’s shoes were ruined because of the rain so all day we were teasing him that his feet smelt bad.

We also had the opportunity to visit Nanhai Zhixin Middle school located in Foshan, China. This school is one of the most peaceful and beautiful campuses that we visited so far. We met few students that have already applied to Georgian College. We also met a lot of other students and had an incredible presentation with them. We are confident that the students from Georgian College that have the interest in applying to work abroad in East Asia after graduation, will have a better connection opportunity because of this project.

Our next stop is to Wuhan Maple Leaf school! We are very excited about this because there are already so many students from Maple Leaf at Georgian College and it is the Wuhan’s 10 years anniversary celebration this week.

We wanted to send a HUGE thank you and shout out to An ning our ICR from Georgian College. You helped us so much that we cannot thank you enough Mama! 🙂

On route to Guangzhou – taking the bullet train23.jpgAmazing Gift from the GMU students for GCSA gmu 1Our presentation for GMU studentsgmu 4Practicing Kung-fu (Panda) at Nanhai Zhixin Middle schoolWeChat Image_20170531104533Learning about Historic Cursive Chinese writinggmu 3Thank you Mama Anningmama.jpgStudent Association visit & engagement time with our new friends from GMU

 

Learning traditional Chinise writing

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Enjoying an Italian meal
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After our Presentation @ Nanhai Zhixin Middle school

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Week 01 Shenzhen, China

                                     Week 01 – Toronto to Guangzhou

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After a long 15 hour flight out of Toronto, we finally landed in Guangzhou, China!
 We took a car 154 KM to a city called Shenzhen. Our first week we spent most of our time at Shenzhen Institute of Technology (SIT). We absolutely loved the time we spent there. The students were so friendly, the staff were amazing and we made a joke that while we were there we didn’t know whether or not we felt like Celebrities or Aliens! The people in the community were stopping on the street to take pictures of us and all of the SIT students wanted selfies with us. Our highlights of the week were: learning about Chinese tea culture, watching the school sports ceremony and spending time with the students. The tea culture has many different meanings in China, some of which include: education, socializing, and one way to welcome visitors into your home or place of stay.  The overall experience of learning how the tea is traditionally made and served was truly amazing. Our last morning at SIT we had the privilege of going for what is considered “Morning Tea” with the Dean of the International Business Department, Mr. Zhang. Many citizens in China have morning tea often and it is a important part of the social environment in this culture.

During our Pre-Departure many people that we worked with explained to us that the heat in China would be a big change to adapt to. We found out that they were more than right about this. The heat in Shenzhen was fairly hot and muggy, but we have really enjoyed the sunshine! It also was rainy a few days that we were at SIT.

The food was a major culture shock for us especially with being jet lagged and our stomachs not adjusted to the time change. Although we found it challenging we kept an open mind and experienced many different flavours and tastes. If you are planning on coming to China, be aware of this and keep an open mind to try everything. Our Chinese friends gave us a tip that said “If you don’t know what it is your eating, don’t ask before you eat it.”

Our next stop is back to Guangzhou to spend a few days at a school called The Guangzhou Maritime University and deliver a presentation at a few agencies. We are also going for a day visit to Nanhai Zhixin Middle school.

Don’t forget to check out our blog in a few days to see our updates on our new adventures! Feel free to send us any requests of what you would like to see by going to our contact us page!

Below are pictures from our first week!
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Introduction about our project for the Marketing Students at SIT

Week 1 Tea Culture                                                         Traditional Chinese Tea set upweek-1-sitgc.jpg                                                    SIT Welcome meeting for us 🙂

A few Chinese breakfast options

Enjoying a variety of Chinese cusine options with our new friends

Student Engagement time at SIT

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Presentation preparation 😀

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Presenation for the Marketing Students at SIT

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Sports Ceremony at SIT

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