Applied Health Sciences English Language Program in Brock University

Date: November 1, 2010

School of Medicine, College of Medicine, Student, Chang-Wei Wu
Editor, General Education
Center, Lecturer Chiara Benham

The 21 days I spent at St. Catherines’ Brock University were memorable, academically challenging and fantastic. It has always been my dream to study abroad and live in a totally different culture. Finally, this summer I had the opportunity to fulfill my dream. China Medical University’s Summer 2010 Applied Health Sciences English Language Program was held by the Brock University, which happened to be my chance to have a dream-come-true.

This whole program was about improving English and learning the exact usage of medical terms. Erna and Shannon, the program’s teachers, taught us many vocabulary words, how to properly express ourselves, and the correct usage of medical terms. They said that many doctors failed their license examination in Canada just because they couldn’t pronounce and use the medical terms properly. Instead of teaching us grammar, which we can learn by ourselves, they focused their time on our pronunciation and taught us formal word usage that we may need to know if we want to have a career in an English speaking country. It worked out well and they really did have a different pronunciation than we heard during school at CMU. If it wasn’t for this program, I might never have known my mistakes and the correct pronunciation for them.
The program also had classes that taught us about EMS, which stands for Emergency Medical Service. They held CPR and AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) classes. Because of the heart disease that I have, I was very concentrated on learning as much as I can about the courses and found out that it really helps people. It is very useful to know and we were even provided certificates.
Besides what I mentioned above, we also had the chance to visit many health institutes such as Hotel Dieu Shaver Rehabilitation Centre, Brock Heart Institute, one of their Niagara Health System Hospital, etc. These visits and speeches gave us an understanding of Canada, Ontario and the Niagara regions Health system. Their health system is quite like England. All the medication payments are included within their taxes. Due to the fact Canadians pay really high percentage of income tax, they get all their medication for free. This is pretty impressive, however serious problems have occurred which have made the Canadian healthcare system not that good anymore. Due to having a population dispersed across such a wide territory, the density of population has decreased. This causes difficulty when trying to build hospitals everywhere and for everyone. In the whole Niagara region, there are only 7 hospitals (Clinics not included) and 17 ambulance stations. It sometimes takes 30minutes to get to a hospital and have proper medication. Not to mention some hospitals don’t even have emergency rooms (Only 3 out of 7 hospitals in the Niagara region has ER). Instead of an ER, hospitals run an urgent care center, which I don’t think will be of much help for severe injures or dying patients. Even if you get to the hospital on time and it is not during the day, only interns are on-shift of who only some can perform emergency treatment. The interns have to call-in the surgeon to perform the surgery. This might be good method for doctors training, but I don’t think it’s the best way to save lives.

My home-stay family is very angry at the healthcare system because they lost friends just because they didn’t reach the hospital in time. In my home stay family’s opinion the Canadian healthcare system is full of “bullshit and (is) ignoring the rights of human life”. I believe that you really can’t blame the government too much. It’s really a difficult task for the government to have enough money to build hospitals and maintain them. Not to mention the free medication the government has to offer. Sometimes it’s just not possible to build a complete medical center in low population areas. Another problem is that the doctors, nurses, physical therapists and all kinds of medical staffs are all in short supply. Most of them go to the US to earn more money. The lack of medical staffs results in the fact that patients have to wait for a long time to get an appointment or examination. This is what I learned about the health system in St. Catherine & Niagara region.
On the contrary, the health system in Taiwan is quite different. Besides the high density of population, we also have a different health insurance process and better-trained doctors. Due to high density of the Taiwanese population, hospital establishments are easier to keep in business and are certain to make money. The Taiwanese culture has made a lot of students want to become doctors, whether it’s their idea or their parents’ idea. This creates lots of medical resources in urban areas. In the countryside and in the mountains, we are facing the same problem as Canada. Throughout the world Countries never have enough money to have a fair, convenient, complete health system. Both Taiwan and Canada have a huge amount of debt that is owed in the medical service industry. The difference is that Canada raised their income tax and made a hard decision of closing some “not-that-necessary” medical centers. This is one solution of how to reduce the expense of the health industry and the decrease debt. Although though my host family believes it’s a bad and unrespectable plan, it will be even worse if the whole health insurance system collapses from bankruptcy.

In addition to my interesting studies, I also had a great time with my home-stay family. I spent so many joyful nights with my family. We chatted and did activities like making buckets of tomato sauce together. I enjoyed Canada culture with them. The best part was the food! The pasta, pizza, potato, burgers, sandwiches were all my favorite dishes. Most of the Canadians I met were kind and lived relaxed lives full of love and peace. Honesty is also one of the great virtues of Canadians that I admire. More than once I saw people receiving things back from a stranger after it had gone missing. I like the Canadian’s value system. It is the perfect life style for me!

Being in a class which 9 of my classmates were Japanese was really cool. The Japanese students were nice and polite to their Professors and us. The one negative side effect of having them in my class was that the course became too easy because their English was poor. However, I still learned a lot of things from them. The entire class went to all sorts of places like MLB games, Toronto, B.B.Q and other activities that made us more familiar with each other and Canada.

(Chinese Version.)


in class
photo with Erna (left) and Henry (right)