Summer program in Brock University

Date: December 10, 2010

School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Student, You-Ling Li
Editor, General Education Center, Lecturer Chiara Benham

The program I participated in this summer was held by Brock University in Ontario, Canada.  Brock University is located in St. Catharine, nearby the famous Niagara Falls. The school is suitable for studying medicine-related lessons because it is renowned for its health science. The course I attended is called the Applied Health Science English Language Program (AHS). The goal of the course is to teach foreign students medical and health science through English conversation. Due to the ranging language ability of the class, the teachers changed part of the lesson to make sure that everyone understood. There are few kinds of students in our class. All of our majors are in medical and health science, but vary across a range of departments, such as medicine, Chinese medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and occupational therapy. In addition to the CMU students, we also had 9 Japanese classmates from Bunkyo Gakuin University. The multi-ethnic and lingual composition makes the course more competitive and more interesting.

The regular morning courses were taught by two friendly teachers, Ernastine (Erna) and Shannon. Erna is full of wisdom and enthusiasm for teaching. She taught us many useful medical terms and meticulously corrected our pronunciation. She prepared many funny tongue twisters everyday to sharpen our abilities of speaking English. Even though we were sometimes tired or lost our passion to learn, Erna was encouraging and reminded us to be patient. She said, “Although poor pronunciation would not affect our daily life, it is important to have good pronunciation when concerned with medicine. It could cause serious damage if patients or other coworkers can not clearly understand the prescription information.” I deeply agree with this opinion, as a result it I paid more attention to my AHS courses and practiced speaking clearly. Unlike Erna, this is Shannon’s first year being in charge of the AHS courses. Her teaching style was lively and interesting, which made her loved by everyone. Shannon’s method of teaching was through role-play. Most of the CMU exchange students didn’t feel comfortable at the beginning, but I think the intention of this activity was to offer us more opportunities to feel comfortable speaking in English. All of the students, including the Japanese students, had to discuss and prepare our role-play together. The role-play’s mixed Chinglish and Japanese English together in a very humorous way. This added a lot of fun for the class.

The programs in the afternoon were diverse. The programs ranged from listening to speeches about health science to visiting medical institutions or local attractions. The first speech we heard was about Canada’s interesting and impressive culture. This speaker was Professor Erna's husband, Henry. He seemed to be kind and scholarly. I knew that Canada was sparsely populated, but I learned from Henry’s speech that there are only 33 million people in Canada, which is 10 million more than Taiwan. I also learned that Canada and the United Kingdom have maintained a very good relationship with each other, including Canadian’s still paying respect to the Queen of England. It was hard being a foreigner to understand these nationalist feelings I learned and experienced that Canadians are tolerant with the migration. They respect the migrant’s culture and lifestyle. For example, the inhabitants in the small town that we lived in always treated us friendly.

In addition to learning about Canada’s culture, I was impressed by two Chiropractors’ speeches. They used massage and acupuncture to help patients relieve pain. Contrary to the Taiwanese method, the chiropractors needed licenses in order to diagnosis and treat patients without doctors. Hearing these speeches made me proud of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture science. I hope we Chinese keeping developing Chinese Medicine.

Every speech I heard was conducted in English. The speeches varied in
accents, speeds and different degrees of difficulties. At the beginning of my time abroad, it was difficult for me to understand everything, so I had to listen very carefully. I was always exhausted after school because I had to use my brain all day long. I think this was a worthwhile experience because I could gradually understand and absorb more and more from the speeches. My vocabulary was not sufficient to understand everything being presented. Fortunately, Erna helped the exchange students preview the medical terms we might hear in the speech.  Besides my professors, listing to speeches, and having daily interactions having a host family also benefited my experience and language. Through my family I learnt many useful daily words

I am glad that I have had the chance to participate in this program. The only aspect that was not perfect was the expensive plane ticket. Overall, I think that the exchange program was a great opportunity to learn English and become familiar with a foreign culture. I have many wonderful memories that I will cherish forever.

(Chinese Version.)


Group photo in the last class
Group photo with the home stary family members