Name: Aruzhan ASSANKYZY
Host Institution: The University of British Columbia (Canada)
Term of Exchange: Summer Term, 2020-2021
Participating in the 4-week Global Citizenship through English (GCE) Online Programme offered by the University of British Columbia (UBC) has far exceeded my expectations. I truly enjoyed the programme despite the fact that I had to wake up early in the morning to join the 2-hour online classes due to the time differences between Kazakhstan and Canada.
Firstly, the programme covered a lot of interesting topics such as Cross-Cultural Communication, Canadian Society, The Politics of Food, Climate Change, Media & Technology, Employment, and Global Citizenship. I was particularly enthusiastic to learn about food politics. During the lessons, we learned how agriculture is adversely affected by climate change. To feed the growing world population, it is a common belief that farming genetically modified crops is deemed necessary. Besides, guest speakers were invited to share their experience of having healthy food. They were all very friendly and gave a lot of insightful advice. I was also inspired to grow some organic vegetables myself at home as those sold on the market may not be tasty and healthy at all.
Secondly, I was genuinely glad to exchange cultural ideas with students and teachers from various countries and diverse backgrounds. I was able to learn English and different cultural experiences by working in pairs and teams with my classmates. Moreover, the guest speakers from Canada, South Korea, Bangladesh, South Africa and Egypt also acted as different cultural representatives. Some of them even showed us their personal photos and shared the books that changed their lives.
Thirdly, in addition to the real-time classes, we also learned via the e-learning platform, which was user-friendly, clear and well-structured. Our homework was engaging as it was presented in an interactive way. Interesting videos about the UBC and Canada helped me to learn more about the country dynamically. There were even video interviews conducted by the UBC with Ryan Reynolds, who is one of my favorite actors. Besides, it was impressive to share different cultures and discuss experiences such as the sources of inspiration and happiness with my classmates through the online platform.
I was highly satisfied with this programme and proud to be a part of it. Not only had I improved my English language proficiency, but I also learned more about the current global issues and the cultures of different countries, which greatly broaden my horizons and enhance my cultural understanding in return.