Today was a special day for the High School students at Maple Leaf International Academy – Shenzhen. After finishing our Term 3 assessment week, a much-needed day outside of the school was scheduled to visit nearby Guangzhou and pay a formal visit to the Consulate of Canada located in that famous city. After a two-hour bus ride, which students passed mostly by sleeping, we arrived at the beautiful and new Canadian consulate office in the busy Tianhe district. The students were warmly greeted by the Consulate staff and enjoyed the beautiful view from the 26th floor office tower and enjoyed snacks & refreshments provided by the Consulate staff.
领事馆共有60名工作人员，其中包括9名加拿大人。我们刚到达，就受到了领事馆首席贸易专员Tom Cumming的热情接待，他为我们介绍了贸易委员会的工作内容，以及它如何在中国和加拿大的企业之间搭建合作的桥梁。他还谈到了两个国家之间教育桥接的重要性，此外他还和学生们分享了一些睿智之言，即教育的重要性不止体现在高中和大学阶段，在我们以后的生活中也要注重自身的教育和成长。教育所具有的变革性力量鼓舞和激励着每一个人 。
There are 60 staff who work at the consulate including nine Canadians. We were first greeted by the Chief Trade Commissioner, Tom Cumming, who talked about the work of the Trade Commission and how it works to build contacts and connections between businesses in China and Canada. He also talked about how important education links are between two countries and had some very wise words to the students about the importance of pursuing their education, and not just in high school and university but also as we get older in life. It was very inspiring for everyone about the transformative power of education.
Next, came the very relevant presentation for our students how to get a study visa in Canada for those students who wish to attend one of the universities in that country. As well as Canadian universities, students from Maple Leaf go to universities in all English-speaking countries such as America, Australia and the United Kingdom. As in all countries, in Canada students are required to apply for a student visa, but it was explained to the students that they can also apply for a work visa so they can work part time. Canada has also made it easy for students to stay in Canada after university and to get a work permit after graduation. Students are not required to give up citizenship in their home country if they take advantage of this benefit.
The final presentation was by the Vice-Consul Long Wu who spoke about the history of Chinese immigration to Canada and also the history of China-Canada relations. As with most historical relationships there have been positive times and challenging times and the Canada-China relationship is no exception. Canada has a long history of accepting immigrants from China and one which has included in recent years Canada accepting 300,000 immigrants with China being among the top three countries. Canada’s history in China goes back to many years and includes such famous people in China as Dr. Norman Bethune. Canada was also among the first western nations to establish diplomatic relations with China, beginning in 1973 with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau’s official visit to China which opened the doors for other countries to establish formal diplomatic relationships with China.
A time of questions and answers followed with students having written out questions on number of subjects including the work of the consulate, questions about current issues between Canada and China such as the ongoing Huawei dispute, questions about Canadian history regarding Aboriginal residential schools, and even a question about how the Toronto Raptors NBA team could be used to strengthen the relationships between the two countries.
Is a very successful day visiting an official foreign Diplomatic office with such rich information given for this important stage of their life. Maple Leaf International Academy will continue to arrange visits with representatives from different countries so that students can make the best choice about their university dream. Merci beau coup Canada for this wonderful visit!