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Sharing Canadian Culture

The participants in this year's Summer Explorations in Canadian Cultures (SECC) program were as diverse as the experiences they shared during their visit to Trent University and Ontario from June 29 to July 13. Trips to Petroglyphs Provincial Park, the McMichael Gallery, Curve Lake and Kushog Lake in the Haliburton Highlands were among the highlights for the visitors from China and India.

Three of the participants were professors from Lanzhou University in China and the fourth was a clothing designer who owns and operates her own garment business in India. While 12 participants were expected, a delay in VISA approvals made for a much smaller group, says Program Director Beth O'Reilly, adding the fewer participants did allow for more flexibility in the schedule, such as an added trip to Niagara Falls and to Ottawa to visit the parliament buildings and the Museum of Civilization.

And while there was an array of scheduled activities, a lot of the education and most memorable experiences took place around the dinner table. Discussion focused on participants' varied backgrounds and similarities and differences in their cultures.

This was the program's seventh year. It sees students, teachers, researchers and educators immerse themselves in Canadian culture through lectures, discussion groups, seminars and field excursions. With Trent's Canadian Studies faculty members and other local cultural experts, participants explore a myriad of matter, including national identities, contemporary and historical native issues, and literary arts.

"This is an opportunity for people to expand on any research they've been doing," says Ms. O'Reilly, noting Summer Explorations is unique in its nature. "The SECC program offers participants a chance to enrich their understanding of Canadian cultures. Many participants use the knowledge they gain toward their master's or Ph.D thesis and in the development of Canadian Studies programs and courses abroad."

In a letter to Ms. O'Reilly, participants expressed their gratitude:

"It is glorious for us to have the opportunity to attend Summer Explorations in Canadian Cultures. During the period of SECC program, we have learned some knowledge of Canadian history and culture…All programs and activities we took part in express the kindness, friendliness, and enthusiasm of Canadian people."

The following individuals took part in this year's program:

Amish has a teaching background in Reiki and Acupuncture and is a clothing designer who owns and operates her own garment business in India.

Dr. Li Jun
Dr. Li is a Professor of Education at Lanzhou University. His field of study includes higher education, in both China and other areas around the world. Dr. Li enjoys sports and was most interested in meeting a wide variety of people in Canada.

Sun Yue
Sun Yue is also a Professor at Lanzhou University in the Music and Arts Department. His students have been Brass winners and members of the China Symphony Youth Orchestra. Several of his students have also joined the professional Lanzhou Symphony. His primary research area is Trombone Performance and performance theory, and his secondary areas are Electronic Music and theories of 20th century music.

Dr. Wang Yongshun
Dr. Wang is a doctoral candidate at Lanzhou University, majoring in microelectronics and solid state electronics. He wants to learn advanced science and technology, novel management for university education and to experience and learn about the rich and colourful life of students in Canada and rural culture.

SECC was launched by the Canadian Studies program at Trent, and is now hosted by Continuing Education in Julian Blackburn College, in partnership with the Canadian Studies program and the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies and Native Studies. SECC will take place next August 14 - 28. For further information, visit

Posted September 21, 2004

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