Friday, November 14, 2008

In her own words; Bonnie's experience in China

There's no doubt about it, my experience in China with UFV was a blast! The people I met there, the places I went, the food, the culture and the education was unforgettable. We had a great group of students that were incredibly fun, and awesome, insightful teachers that helped us through sicknesses, downtimes, and downright disasters. China in itself was a very interesting country, rich with culture and history, but also a whole different world compared to what we are used to. Eating habits, sleeping schedules, woman's rights, clothing standards, teaching methods, social statuses, dating and sex are all completely different there than in Canada, and they are not things you would normally considering preparing for when planning you trip. The whole experience really strengthened my commitment to my goals, as well as a new-found admiration and respect for the wonderful people here at UFV who helped us through so much, and even though we were 15 hours away, it never seemed like that at all. I would recommend the Study Abroad program for anyone who has a love for travel, is independent and is devoted to their studies. My best advice to anyone considering traveling abroad is not to worry about how much money the trip will cost you, and just focus on having a great time, as well as be willing to try anything and everything, and don't worry whats going on back home, the drama will still be there when you get back. Just live in the moment and have fun!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

UFV's KPE Study Tour to China

If you ask University of theFraser Valley Kinesiology student Bonnie Burton about her 3 month study tour to China, she will say, "Don't ask about the earthquake."
Not that she minds talking about her experience about being in the middle of one (it struck 3 days after the group arrived from Chilliwack BC Canada), but there is so much more to her experience and to the experience of the other students on the Study Tour.
Ask about the landscape, she suggests; ask if our perception of China is correct, or if it is just a collection of stereotypes and Western prejudices.

"There is way more to China than big cities, pollution, and girl baby adoption," she says: " It is a much more intellectual country; they are taking alot of action to solve any problems they may have."
According to Bonnie, people should ask the following:
What was it like when you first arrived? What was your first impression? How was it, interacting with the Chinese (fun! they are so kind and helpful) ?
How much time did you spend out and about? How much time did you spend on the computer talking to people back home, avoiding contact with the locals?

Bonnie had a number of her preconceptions challenged: when she first arrived, instead of seeing bad traffic and pollution, she saw palm trees, deserted streets, wildlife in the streets (? I said; preying mantisses, frogs, lizards and chickens, she said).

The group spent from May 9, 2008 to May 22 2008 in Chengdu, and then went to Shenzhen until their departure for Canada July 10, 2008.
During that time they studied Sports culture, Mandarin, Massage, Wushu, TaiChi, and Accupuncture.

It was a life-changing experience, says Bonnie. People who have never experienced something like this can't understand how we feel.

When asked if this trip has changed her career goals, she is quick to answer in the affirmative: she is interested in working in overseas, and in the health industry. Can you say International Development; Right to Play; War Child? All the best to you, Bonnie; we are sure you will find lots to keep you busy!