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U of T Scarborough welcomes Green Path students from China

by Eleni Kanavas

The University of Toronto Scarborough welcomed a new group of young people from China this week. An estimated 150 students gathered in the H-Wing cafeteria on campus for a welcome luncheon held on June 1.

This summer marks the fifth year of the Green Path program, which translates from Chinese as “the way to success.” The 12-week intensive program gives high school students the opportunity to prepare for the demands of university life and adjust to life in Canada. Students attend the program from six partner schools in China: Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chongqing and Tianjin.

“We’re very proud of the Green Path program because it’s set up to get you all off to a good start,” U of T Scarborough Principal Franco Vaccarino told the students at the luncheon. “We want to make it easier for you to not only do well in your courses and your scholastic roles when you start in September but also to enjoy yourself.”

Students follow a demanding curriculum that is delivered in English and focuses on academic reading, writing and researching skills. Classes take place Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are taught by a team of instructors specifically hired for their suitability to teach the course material. The School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto runs the Academic Preparation Program for the students.

According to Lisa Morgan, program manager of the Green Path Academic Preparation Program, from the School of Continuing Studies, English Language program, students must pass the summer program with a B average in order to begin their first year of a full undergraduate course load at U of T Scarborough in September.

Don MacMillan, registrar and director of enrolment services and Jack Martin, director of the summer Green Path program, travel to China twice a year with other program organizers to maintain partnerships with the schools and meet with interested students and their parents.

“We are delighted to welcome the new group of Green Path students to our campus,” said MacMillan. “This program attracts some very bright young minds to the University of Toronto Scarborough and they greatly enrich our campus community.”

The use of marketing tools and the help of a lead coordinator at each high school in China associated with the program enables students to learn more about Green Path. Once students are interviewed and complete an entrance exam successfully, they are given an unconditional offer of acceptance to the University of Toronto Scarborough.

Yu Dong, 18, arrived last week from Beijing for an exciting summer of learning. “I like it very much because we have a great residence, nice food and we can experience this culture here,” Dong said. “Everyone helps us out a lot and we can enjoy ourselves.”

The program has grown significantly since it began in 2005 with just 15 students. The Green Path Association -- a group of more than 200 program graduates – is made up of numerous volunteers who help ease the transition for new students by greeting them upon arrival at the airport, checking them in at campus residence and going on tours around the city.

“We provide all kind of help and services,” said Alex Yin, U of T Scarborough recruitment officer (Asian initiatives). “We not only provide academic support but also help the students to settle into their residence, take them to the grocery store, and help them with opening bank accounts and even with getting a cell phone.”

Second-year management student Clark Wang, 19, president of the Green Path Association, attended the summer program last year and enjoyed the experience. He is originally from Beijing.

During Wang’s first year of undergraduate studies, he became actively involved in campus life and helping other Green Path students.

“UTSC has given me the opportunity to come here and study,” he said. “I was able to stay here for three months and make lots of friends.”

© University of Toronto Scarborough