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Asia-Pacific Report: Training a new generation of Asia-competent Canadians

A few weeks back, throughout a panel discussion in between Canadian and Japanese officials in Vancouver, Miklos Dietz told the event that Canadians, specifically those in B.C., have to concentrate on developing Asia competencies at a young age to cultivate a brand-new generation of leaders.


The director of speaking with group McKinsey and Company had touched on a vital talking point of current efforts to improve Canadians capability to contend for business in Asia a need to increase the level of knowledge and understanding among the Canadian public, focusing on academic exchanges.


There are numerous programs at academic organizations and through groups such as the B.C. Council For International Education to help students go abroad, however several nations likewise provide scholarships to Canadians, in the hope it pays dividends in the future.


In 2014, China commemorated the 10th anniversary of a program offering approximately 10 to 15 scholarships for Canadians each year. Although the numbers are small, it represents just a fraction of the total number of Canadian students in China (estimated to be around 3,000 in 2015). Chinese authorities stated that, in addition to the scholarships, they routinely sponsor contests for Mandarin-language arts such as singing to motivate student’s interest and familiarity with Asia.

BCSCAN, an alumni network for Canadians who have actually studied in China, started as a conduit to move their interest and understanding to those who wish to pursue comparable researches.


We desire more students to come. We don’t actually care about a certain number or exactly what programs they choose, because the experience they gain in China and Asia compared with going to another English-speaking country will be a lot more satisfying, said Yu Changxue of the education department at the Chinese consulate in Vancouver. It is a tremendous location that’s worthwhile of exploration. And ultimately, that will to check out has to originate from the students themselves so we have to help students end up being more familiar (with China).


Japan’s MEXT scholarship, developed in 1954, also has a significant existence in B.C. A UBC information session in March attracted 35 students once again, not just those interested particularly in government scholarships, but studying in Japan typically.


It was rather a high turnout, as we had actually previously been informed that it was end of term, so most students were too busy to participate in because of projects and essays, stated Steve Chevalier with Japan’s Vancouver consulate. It is a truly excellent indicator that students are interested in going to Japan to study.


A regional Japanese alumni network is likewise growing, with routine gatherings serving as a platform for Canadians with similar experiences to stay connected.

Those associated with such exchanges concur it is an uphill battle. Rough quotes show only a small portion of Canadian post-secondary students travel abroad to study, and those who do normally choose English-speaking nations such as Australia and the U.S., as well as European nations.

Colin Doerr, the B.C. Council for International Education’s director of interactions (and himself a previous student in China), said alumni networks such as BCSCAN aid encourage B.C. students to travel abroad.


Students, when they first return, it can be fairly difficult because you’ve built up a network while studying (in Asia), and you lose that when you come back, Doerr said. This is a location we can assist.


While cultural interest may spur students to travel to Asia, factors to consider about financial realities, including the ability to discover employment, unquestionably also weigh in their decisions. B.C. legal representative Gary Matson studied at Hiroshima University in Japan from 1978 to 1980, and noted that lots of students at the time took Japanese studies because of the country s then-booming economy.


He included that students require developing a deeper connection to truly benefit from and facilitate cross-Pacific interactions. Did the scholarship straight help me get a task? What I found out in Japan ended up paying dividends, because 90 to 95 per cent of my clients are Japanese.

Richard Liu echoed Matson’s beliefs. The creator of the Canadian Alumni Network in China and a previous Canadian diplomat in Beijing was affected by his dad, both throughout a short stay in his birth place of Toronto and throughout his training in B.C. As a result, Liu studied at Beijing University in China has actually invested years overseas and constructed an effective career in both public and economic sectors.


When I went to Beijing University, I was able to join students who are now developed in Chinese industry and society, Liu stated. Having resided in China for 20 years, marrying and raising a family there, studying there is how it all began. It offered me the network that I have today which took 20 years to develop.


Not everybody found the experience helpful in terms of careers. Vancouver-area resident Meghan O Connell was a MEXT recipient at Kyoto University from 2011 to 2013, and as she lacked Japanese language abilities, she had to go to English programs where the level of language competency was uneven. However, O Connell said the experience, consisting of 5 months working at a national park on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, was extraordinary.


Find out exactly what you want to get out of studying (abroad), and then truly does your research study. If you want a strenuous academic experience that will help you discover work in Vancouver, perhaps it’s not the location.