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The Gachon Herald
Things I learned in Canada
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Updated : 2014.09.20  01:03:32
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  I got an opportunity to study at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) in Canada as I was an international student last year in the exchange & visiting program provided by Gachon University. TRU is located in the city of Kamloops about 350km from Vancouver, B.C., and in which most of the year it’s summer and winter. The reasons why I wanted to study in Canada can be condensed into two things. Firstly, I hoped to experience such things as the culture, education and nature of Canada first hand because I knew almost nothing about Canada compared to the United States. Secondly, I have an objective to work in overseas firms and international organizations such as IBM or GCF in the near future. So I applied for this particular North America program because I believed this could be a cornerstone for my planned objective. There are several things I felt when I studied in Canada and I will talk about those things in connection with the motive I mentioned above.
  The first thing is the educational method. The part that I was most baffled by, and found the most difficult to adapt to, was the teaching method of professors and the attitude of students in class. Students ask professors questions right away whenever there is something they want to know during the class. Casting questions during class is not considered intruding. Rather, professors recommend students frequently ask question if there is anything they don’t understand. Those questions eventually develop into a discussion and proceed for approximately 3 to 10 minutes. The understanding of an idea becomes deeper in this process, and enables extensive learning with the first idea eventually leading to discussion conclusions. Most students take part in this discussion, however, even those who merely listen can get an opportunity to hear about diverse perspectives and ideas that they hadn’t thought of before. So I came to think that this is one of the biggest and most important positive points of debate. Next, almost all majors give homework every week. Most of the homework is writing assignments. Students usually research information they need in textbooks, the internet, libraries, and so on, as those kinds of assignments require the explanation of ideas. So students don’t regard writing assignments as being too much for them or too hard. They usually give quite profound explanations when they are called on during class. I was surprised and guessed that this kind of deep understanding homework and the culture of debate are connected to each other. It seems like all the homework is related to the lectures, which makes students study continuously. Due to frequent homework, students don’t consider the formal exams too challenging, especially if they have done their homework industriously. 
  The second thing is academic traditions and culture. First of all, students usually gather after listening to lectures to read and discuss what they’ve learned outside on a bench, on the grass, at a table and on the stairs. Seeing this amazing sight I felt for the first time that I was a real student in the university. As I was wondering what made this environment possible, I found that there were plenty of spaces for students on campus including big libraries with a free atmosphere. There are spacious places in all the buildings for students to study. The libraries are located in convenient places. Several factors such as the lighting, atmosphere and the placement of tables make places very comfortable for studying. Many students study while having discussions and conversations in the library and their moderate volume of talking makes the library feel lively and animated.
  Lastly, I found it intriguing that the university provides a variety of outside activities for students. There was a timetable for activities during the semester including skiing, sledging, going to hockey games, ice fishing, and so on. Though it was not new to me, I felt the activities were quite captivating, especially since Canada’s nature is well preserved and the size of it is colossal. So by getting out of the campus from time to time, I could refresh myself because there was an activity almost every week.
  Although it was for only one semester, it was a priceless period for me because I gained more than what I aimed for. Moreover, through this amazing opportunity, I experienced another broad world. Canada has its own distinctive and intrinsic culture and history despite being adjacent to the United States. Canada is a mixture of France and Britain. It’s character can be found through the variety of races, architectural styles, languages, manners and customs. We can obtain a new outlook whenever we learn various things and adjust ourselves to them in a completely different environment and culture. I believe, with an explicit goal, and even though it is only for a semester, there is a lot to be learned from this kind of opportunity, and the experience could be your stepping stone to a bigger objective and a turning point toward a new life.
Kyeongmo Noh Dept. of Computer Engineering

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