LiuFei (center), consul general of China in Vancouver,delivers opening remarks at a reception in honour of Chinese government scholarship recipients and BC students studying in China held at the Chinese consulate in Vancouver on June 29.
The governments of China and British Columbia are working to develop more sustained and continuous ties in international higher education through Canadian students studying abroad in China, according to government officials.
At a June 29 reception to honour Chinese government scholarship recipients and BC students studying in China — the first of its kind ever hosted by the Chinese consulate in Vancouver — Consul General Liu Fei expressed his hopes that BC students bound for China in the coming year would "journey 10,000 miles, read 10,000 books and cement 10,000 friendships."
At the same time, she hoped that students who recently returned to BC from China would not forget to maintain their connections with China and act as friendship ambassadors between the two countries.
"Education is another link in the longstanding historical ties between BC and China," Liu said.
The consulate reception was intended to be a platform for students leaving for China to network with those returning, providing an opportunity for them to share common interests, Liu said.
Emem-Obong Lucia Inyang, a student who will be leaving for China in the fall, told China Daily that she enjoyed the chance to talk with students just back from China.
"I get to see there are other people also doing what I’m doing, and get an idea of what China is like and what to expect," she said.
At the event, the BC International Council for Education (BCICE) announced that it will be collaborating with the Chinese consulate and the BC Ministry of Advanced Education to create the BC Studies in China Alumni Network, a virtual network on LinkedIn that will help alumni connect with new international students.
Yu Changxue, education consul of the Chinese consulate, told China Daily that the alumni network would not only "reinforce the connections between China and Canada, but also provide tangible benefits for students in terms of career opportunities or foster collaboration or entrepreneurship between people who might study in different fields, but share a common interest in China."
Each year, 15 students studying at BC institutions receive Chinese government scholarships, which cover their tuition and expenses while abroad and are applicable at 279 top Chinese institutions.
This year's scholarship winners at the reception heard about the experiences of past winners, including Cyndi McLeod, former vice-president of global advancement at Royal Roads University.
According to the consulate, there are 3,271 Canadian higher education students studying in China.
In April, Andrew Wilkinson, BC minister of advanced education, went on an education mission to China accompanied by representatives of the BCICE, University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, BC Institute of Technology and Langara College.
During the mission, the BC government announced $130,000 in scholarship funding to support students at these colleges and universities to study at Chinese institutions. Funds matched by partners in China and the Canadian government amounted to 300 scholarships worth $1.4 million for both BC and Chinese students.
Inyang, who won a Chinese government scholarship, said she was glad the money would cover her regular expenses so that she can “travel around, experience country and do research on the ground in China.”
Her research interests include the development of ties between China and the Third World, particular her native country of Nigeria.
"I think China's economic growth has set an example for other developing countries," Inyang said."I look forward to the opportunity to see China in action."
BC is a gateway to China for Inyang, who completed her undergraduate degree in Nigeria and is studying for a master’s program in global communication.
"When I was looking at the master's programs [in Canada], I found this additional opportunity to go to China, and thought, why can't I study in both countries and travel the world?" Inyang said.