This summer, a group of 15 students and a teacher from the Shanghai University of Medicine and Health Sciences in China honed their skills at Vanier College. They participated in numerous workshops and got hands-on training for different nursing techniques.
It’s the second year the program has been offered.
« They were here specifically to learn about geriatric care which Canada has quite a speciality in. There is a great interest in nurses knowing more about elderly care, » Rowena Selby, Vanier College’s International Manager of Continuing Education, who helped coordinate the three-week summer program.
Each Friday during their program, the students also visited hospitals in the Montreal area.
The initial connection between the Saint-Laurent cegep and Shanghai University began back in 2016. Two Vanier students won first place in an international nursing competition. The accomplishment peaked the curiosity of Chinese school officials.
« After that, an agreement was signed between the two institutions. It led to the summer programs, » Selby explains.
“For some of them, it’s even their first time outside the huge city of Shanghai which has more than 20 million people. This was a big step. » she adds.
The visitors were placed in homestays to get a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture. They also took part in several weekend outings. They spent time in Niagara Falls, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto.
During their graduation ceremony, the students put together PowerPoint presentations of some of the highlights of their time in Canada. The quality of our food was a focal point for many of them.
« It is a little sweeter and more salty than Chinese food, » one student said. « We all gained a lot of weight. »
Zheng Jiayi particularly loved the iced cappuccino at Tim Horton’s. « It’s cheap and delicious. » says the 20-year-old.
How blue the Montreal sky is impressed 19-year-old Cissy Guchuan. « The environment is very good. There is less pollution. » she says with a smile.
Guchuan added she would like to one day live in Montreal.
For now, there are no definite plans for nursing students from Vanier College to take part in an intensive course in China.
« We hope that these sorts of things will develop in the future. But for now, it’s a one-way experience. We hope it will be part of an ongoing discussion, » manager Rowena Selby says.
The students returned to Shanghai on August 20. They are expected to begin an internship at a Chinese hospital when their classes resume in September.