Chinese International Student Finds Success at UBC Through Selkirk College
When International student Xu Jiaming returned to China after wrapping up his year at Selkirk College, he went secure in the knowledge that two British Columbian universities would welcome him back to study this fall, a dream come true for the young learner.
Xu, who also went by his adopted Canadian name Charlie, was accepted by Simon Fraser University in their Environmental Science program and at University of British Columbia in their Bachelor of Applied of Science program.
Xu joined Selkirk College’s English Language Program (ELP) in the fall of 2014. He’d visited Canada in 2012 for summer camp and loved his experience, fueling his to desire to return. He found Selkirk College and was hooked.
“Before I came here I saw it was a small town, a beautiful place. I thought it would be a good environment for studying and to get closer to nature,” he says.
Xu comes from Wuhan, the most populous city in Central China and when he arrived he his English was “not very good,” he says.
He was young, 18-years-old, and far from home.
“At first I was very excited, but then I missed the food and my family in my home town,” he says.
Selkirk College International Student Advisor Louis Hu says in recent years, a growing number of young Chinese students have been studying in Canada.
“Cultural shock could be the risk for the young learners when they are studying abroad. However, we do let them know how to deal with this in our orientation days,” he says. “Also when I travel in China on business, I try my best to meet the potential applicants and talk with them to let them know how to deal with any challenges in their academic study and life when they are here in Canada.”
During the summer, after Xu completed his ELP at Selkirk College, he went home to recharge with friends, family and a bowl of Chinese noodles. His plan was to return and study in the first-year Engineering Transfer Program in the fall of 2015.
“I preferred to do my first year of Engineering in Selkirk College and then transfer to university,” he says. “The classes there are smaller. I am familiar with the school and they have cooperation with universities so that makes it easy to transfer.”
Successful completion of the certificate program at Selkirk College allows students to transfer credits towards an engineering degree at UBC, SFU, University of Victoria, or the University of Alberta.
Xu feels prepared to go on to the larger institution because of the high level of learning at Selkirk College.
“The teachers prepared us for university classes and what we should do,” he says.
Looking back on his time in the West Kootenay, Xu believes his decision to attend Selkirk College was a good one.
“Everything here is wonderful,” he says. “I could get connected to Canadian culture.”
Xu also met students from many different countries as other learners come from abroad to study at Selkirk College.
“I met many friends from different countries,” he says. “Every year Selkirk College has an international fair and it was a highlight.”
Xu wants to be a mechanical engineer. After university, he plans to stay in Canada to start a career but ultimately, he may take his Canadian education home to China if a greater opportunity presents itself there.