2010 summer in Canada

Date: January 7, 2011

Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Care, Student, Pei-Hsuan Wu
Editor, General Education Center, Lecturer Chiara Benham

The summer of 2010 was my last summer vacation before my internship. I hoped I could do something that I would never forget. I’m very thankful for the school to give me the chance to go to Canada and join the Applied Health Science program at Brock University. After a 13 hours flight from Taichung, Taiwan, I arrived in Canada. Although it was summer time in Canada it was cold
I was excited and nervous to face the new environment. After I met my home stay mother, Sue, I knew I would be fine. She greeted me with a big hug and a big smile.

Sue was nice, kind, and funny. She gave a map to me and taught me how to take a bus from my new home to go other places. She even went to school with me for my first day, to ensure that I would not get lost. Every day after I got home from school, we sat on the sofa and chatted. We talk about everything from what I did at school, the difference between Chinese and Western culture, and the Canadian accent. We were surprised when we find out both of us likes same TV shows. Our nightly conversation was my favorite time of day.

Brock University is located near Toronto in the town of St. Catharines. It is a small but lovely town. It has beautiful scenery and people are kind, talkative, and willing to help others. I love the convenience of the public transport system there. With a map and the bus, I could go everywhere I wanted!

At school, I had a class in the morning and in the afternoon the programs students usually toured to the hospital or institution. The English teacher, Earna, payed attention to my english pronunciation. She was always full of energy and had a big smile on her face. She always encouraged us try to talk and talk. Practice makes perfect! She also taught us some medical knowledge and corrected our medical words’ pronunciation. Out of all the classes that she taught us my favorite was when we practiced speaking English for the different situations doctors could be in. For example: how to tell the patient’s family bad news? What is a good way to greet a patient? Those are really useful sentences to learn.

Shannon was another teacher. The class she taught was more active. She liked to role-play. She wanted us to use the words that had been taught in the class and make them into real conversations. She also taught us how to introduce a speaker and what to say when the speech is over. Every time there was a speech she would select a student to be the host. This is not only a good way to practice, but I loved to role-play. In every small role-play group there was a mixture of Taiwanese and Japanese students. Students would try their best to create a funny skit. Due to the different cultures and majors the ideas were all unique, resulting in a perfect performance!

During one of the afternoon classes we had a tour of Niagara Peninsula Children’s Center. They offer many services like physical therapy and occupational therapy, etc. Many children with disabilities can get a good therapy and training here. At Hotel Dieu Shaver Rehabilitation Center, there was physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, and carpentry Class. I think having a carpentry class was really a great idea! Having patients make small decorations, toys, or even big wooden couches was a kind of rehabilitation program. This is a fun and creative program that patients enjoy doing. Having happy patients usually affects their prognosis in a positive way. After I visited many different kinds of hospitals and institutions, I knew more about the type of work, environment, and the medical resources that foreign counties physical therapist have. I felt lucky that I could ask questions and hear opinions from other counties physical therapists. This was a rare opportunity for me.

We had a special class called Brock Niagara Penguins. The class was about exercises used for people with disabilities. We were able to sit on the wheelchairs used to play basketball. It was much harder to maneuver then I thought it would be. I tried to chase the basketball while using my hands to push the wheelchair at the same time. As soon as I caught the ball the wheelchair would turn a different direction all by itself! Even if we had the ball in hand positioned under the basket it was very difficult. It took more power to shoot than I was use to. We also tried to play hockey in the wheelchairs. That also was not easy. The wheelchairs were not very stable so we kept on falling off of it. At some points all of us were stuck together and couldn’t move even though the ball was nearby we couldn’t grab it. We had a lot of fun and now we truly know how it feels to use a wheelchair. This was a great experience because many patients who are in physical therapy are on the wheelchair and now I can relate.

Besides school activities, we also visited many places. I went to Niagara Falls to see the biggest waterfall in the world. I stood on the ship called The Maid of the Mist and experienced the power of the fall that I’ll never forget! We also went to Toronto where I went to the top of the CN tower and visited the enormous and magnificent castle Casa Loma. When I was on the lake of Niagara the whole class tasted a glass of iced wine. It was delicious!

I learned a lot this trip about medical knowledge and Canadian culture. Pushing me to think outside of the box expanded my point of view. Canada is a country that makes people want to slow down and discover the small surprise that happen in our daily lives. I know I’ll miss Canada.

(Chinese Version.)


Group photo in Niagara falls
photo with Earna