“I knew I would need to spend all summer saving up money for my tuition so spending four to five weeks in another country on an education abroad program would be absolutely out of the question. That's until I found out how much funding was actually available to students participating in the Summer Intensive Chinese Language Program in Harbin through CLIC. That's when I realized that I might actually be able to go.”
That’s what second year Bachelor of Commerce student Brendon Cunningham said when asked about his decision to go to China last Summer through the Canada Learning Initiative in China (CLIC) program.
CLIC is a program that offers students a unique, innovative, and meaningful exchange and summer programs opportunities in China to Canadian students. CLIC makes studying abroad more accessible by providing significant funding options and improved credit transfer options. Brendon applied for and received over $1800 in funding, which made it possible for him to participate in the program in Harbin, China.
For Brendon, the Summer Intensive Chinese Language Program opened new windows into a world he had never considered before. Even though he went with an open-mind, he still came back changed: more open to other cultures, and formulating more fluid ideas of what’s ‘proper’ or ‘right’. Brendon stresses that “in general, if you're travelling anywhere outside of Canada, you need to exercise some willfull suspension of Western standards. If you go to the States expecting the same sort of experience as you might have in Canada, you're going to be victim to some level of culture shock.”
Now that he’s back Brendon is encouraging his friends to think about participating in a CLIC program because “there's actually MORE funding available to you if you have no prior experience with the language.” This experience was more than just a short-term study abroad program. From climbing the Great Wall, walking through the Forbidden City, eating fantastic food, meeting amazing people, all the way to breaking stereotypes and rectifying misunderstandings, Brendon got a variety of rich experiences that will last him a lifetime. So rich, that he already has plans to return to China this upcoming summer.