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Green Path program graduates ready to start academic careers

Graduates after their ceremony. [Photo by Ken Jones]

The sweltering heat on August 11 did nothing to waive the excitement of the 263 students graduating from U of T Scarborough’s Green Path program, comprised of 262 students from China and one student from South Korea.

“I can’t believe that Green Path is done. I feel like it’s my home now,” says Dustin Woo, the first-ever Green Path student from South Korea.

The preparatory program runs for 12 weeks before the cohort of international students begin their academic careers at UTSC. Green Path includes English as a Second Language training as well as briefing students on Canadian teaching methods and learning styles. Since the program launched in 2005, it has attracted 1,910 top high school graduates from China. Aside from academic preparedness, the program introduces students to the Canadian way of life.

“I learned that Canada is so welcoming to all types of people,” says Woo. “I now have Korean culture, Chinese culture, Canadian culture. All of these different countries are now a part of me.”

In addition to the introduction to the diversity at UTSC, meeting students from all parts of China was one of the highlights for Grace Gao, this year’s valedictorian. “It was fascinating to hear about the differences in our education and cuisine. We even had a class where we cooked different regional foods,” says Gao.

She advises other international students to be open-minded during their university careers “Be brave. Embrace this new society and community,” Gao says. “Although there are many challenges there is a brand new world here waiting for you.”

During the ceremony, Dr. Weiya Xu, Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto, Education Consul and Director of the Education Office offered the students a few words of wisdom.

“Your success in high school and your success in the preparatory course lay a solid foundation for your upcoming academic career,” says Xu. “Keep contact with your parents in China. Study hard. I wish you all the success. You have a boundless future ahead of you.”

Professor Bernie Kraatz, U of T Scarborough’s Vice-Principal Research also gave his best wishes during the ceremony.

“When I visited your high schools in April I met many of you and I learned about your learning aspirations and future plans. It was absolutely inspiring for me,” says Kraatz. “The next four years will be some of the most important years of your lives. At times, I know from experience, that it will be tough. Rest assured that we will be here to support you.”

Kraatz advised the students to take full advantage of the services that the University of Toronto Scarborough has to offer, particularly the support they can access at the Academic Advising and Career Centre.

“You are now part of the University of Toronto Scarborough community of scholars,” says Kraatz.

The Green Path program has a partnership with 21 high schools across China in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin. This year, students were able to earn 0.5 credits towards their degrees through the addition of the course Exploring Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Academic Contexts (CTLA02H3).  

Green Path is a Chinese adage that means path to success.

© University of Toronto Scarborough