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Green Path program lives up to its name for thirteenth year

Graduates of the Green Path program recently celebrated another successful year and prepared to start at U of T. (Photo by Ken Jones)

For most students, starting university means new people, a new house and new subjects. For students of the U of T Scarborough Green Path program, it also means a new country, culture and language.

“‘Green path’ in Mandarin means ‘the way to success’ - but in a very smooth way. Green means smooth and well-supported,” says Margaret Yan, director of international academic programs and initiatives. “That is our hope for our students, that they are arriving very supported and cared for.”

Since 2005, the ground-breaking program has given nearly 2,310 students just that.

Green Path is a 12-week summer program created to help top students from 24 high schools in China (and as of last year, Korea) prepare to become first-year university students at the University of Toronto. They learn life, study and English skills, and adapt to Canada while living on residence. Graduates then start undergraduate studies in the fall.

As valedictorian, soon-to-be arts management and media student Jin Jiawin thanked the U of T Scarborough faculty for their work and encouragement in her graduation ceremony speech, which was broadcasted live to China.

“Without (your support) I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” she said. “U of T Scarborough is a place that offers us a large place of opportunities and chances. We have the freedom to take part in student organizations and we have classmates from all over the world.”

There are 24 departments and student services that work closely with the Green Path program to support students through their transition to Canadian student life.

Jiawin was one of 236 graduating students - the second largest class in the program’s history, and was taught by English as a Second Language instructor, Shereen Seoudi. 

“Our classrooms are very friendly, they’re very inclusive and welcoming, so all the students feel that they’re part of the class,” Seoudi says.  “It’s a holistic program, so it doesn’t just focus on academics or English, but on skills that will help them succeed.”

In its inaugural year, most students entered business, math or computer science programs. But the program has seen an increase in students entering arts and different science programs, including life sciences, social sciences and humanities.

Of the 17 winners of the annual E-Fund scholarships, two were awarded to students entering visual and performing arts, arts management, and media programs. As of next year, graduates will be able to apply to architecture, engineering and kinesiology and physical education programs across all three U of T campuses. 

The expanding opportunities within the program are exciting for Bernie Kraatz, vice-principal research, who visits around 20 of the program’s partner schools in China every year. 

“I think it’ll enrich the program, I think there’s real scope to broaden the program,” Kraatz says. “What I really like is that cultural exchange, the students come here and want to learn from us but we also learn from them.”

As of last year, Green Path students also start their undergraduate studies with a half-credit, awarded through the course, Exploring Cross-Cultural Perspectives in Academic Contexts, which teaches academic and communication skills through exploration of Canadian culture.

“It’s a great support for your future studies at U of T Scarborough,” says Jiawin.

 




© University of Toronto Scarborough