OCENET and OCDSB selected by Ontario Ministry of Education to pilot unique cultural immersion program in China


 OCDSB students, along with students from eight other countries, pose for a group photo along The Bund beside the Yangtze River in Shanghai during the International Youth Leaders in China Program during the last two weeks in July

During the last two weeks in July a group of 20 OCDSB students from various local high schools participated in an experience of a lifetime. The OCDSB and OCENET were selected by the Ministry of Education to champion an initiative to select Grade 10 students to learn about Chinese language and culture in Jiangsu Province near Shanghai. Busy days included Chinese language lessons followed by a wide variety of cultural activities, including Chinese calligraphy, Mongolian dance, Tai Chi, fencing, paper cutting, creating Beijing Opera masks, fencing, participating in a traditional tea ceremony, making dumplings, planting Bonsai trees, among many other iconic cultural experiences. The students visited historical and famous cultural sites such as The Humble Administrator’s Garden in Suzhou, the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum, and the Youth Olympic Museum in Nanjing.


 Students learn about the evolution and art of Chinese characters from a world renowned master calligrapher


 OCDSB students enjoy learning about bonsai horticulture by pruning and planting trees

One unique aspect of the program was sharing the experience with not only Chinese students, but also other students from many other countries including Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Spain and the USA. Prior to departure the OCDSB students participated in numerous activities to develop cultural awareness and understand the importance of intercultural competence when experiencing a new and very different culture. The students kept a daily journal to record their experiences and reactions to Chinese culture; overwhelmingly, the students felt the trip was not only memorable, but also a transformative experience..

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