The following blog post was written by Kelty Christensen, Learner Engagement Officer at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement.
During October, the Intercultural Centre hosted a series of workshops called Leveling the Learning Field.
This workshop series focuses on how culture and language affect the success of internationally educated learners in the Canadian post-secondary academic context. The workshops examine Canadian academic conventions, strategies for dealing with course content, the notion of culture, individual cultural tendencies, as well as differences in communication styles across cultures. Language and language patterns that will help make communication in English easier and more effective are also addressed.
One of the participants of the workshop series was Minju Kim, a first year International Business Administration student. I recently sat down with Minju to learn more about her experience participating in the workshop series.
Minju is a newcomer to Canada and Bow Valley College and decided to participate in the workshops to increase her communication skills.
"This workshop helped me a lot - how to ask questions, how to show politeness and strategies to find out what is appropriate here in school. It made me feel confident," said Minju.
Asking questions and participating in class is new for Minju, and she felt very hesitant about doing this. "I enjoyed sharing ideas and experiences with the other participants. It made me feel like I'm not alone!" she shared.
Minju also stated that the workshops helped her in her daily life and interactions. "I was challenged to open my mind and be more objective, to embrace differences and to think about how things are in my own culture, and adapt my thinking to what works here. I feel more relaxed now. I have learned that I am not afraid to say 'I don’t know', because now I feel confident that I have strategies to help myself. If you want to adapt to a new society, you need your own will. To change and open your mind, you need to put yourself in situations to learn about a new culture and society. This course was very meaningful to me.”
The Leveling the Learning Field workshop series is offered at the start of each trimester and is open to all international BVC learners in career programs.
To learn more about the applied research project that investigated the culturally-based academic learning needs of internationally educated professionals, see Leveling the Learning Field.