Since 2008, students in the Early Childhood Education program have completed one-month study abroad internships at Regent International Preschool in the city of Suzhou, China. The value of their learning and working experiences at a Regent International preschool are invaluable. Read their own words written for the Talk Back China project, an online diary.
Karen, June 7, 2013
The Suzhou, China Internship is an experience that I would encourage those seeking to experience a world where merging two cultures for the purpose of children’s growth to embark on. The three weeks felt like a life time due to the warm welcome our group received from the GBC graduates and the Mandarin teachers. The children eagerly express themselves in English, Japanese, and Mandarin! Regent International Preschool is a unique and delightful school where we observed and created play based, emergent curriculum. We had plenty of opportunities to hone in on Best Practices and work within a team environment. This internship has further opened my eyes and heart; I look forward to putting into practice the new ideas, approaches, and enthusiasm that have sparked!
Thank you to the beautiful children of Regent International Preschool, the resourceful teachers, and the fabulous Colette Kane and Maria Ciampini!
Andrea Mendoza, June 6, 2013
Ni Hao, from Suzhou, China! I am currently concluding my three week breathtaking experience at Suzhou’s Regent International Preschool in the (K2) Senior Kindergarten Room. Initially, embarking on this journey seemed like a great idea, well little did I know I was in for a BIG surprise. From having no expectations to not knowing what to expect on this trip I went to feeling like I was at home with the children and staff team that have welcomed and embraced me as a professional and as a member of their own family.
The children in the K2 classroom have been remarkable to me from the moment I stepped into their class they have greeted me with their beautiful smiles and fantastic hugs. These children walk in daily with smiles on their faces and ready to conquer the universe. Their love for learning and engagement in play speaks volumes to the support they are given by their dedicated teachers Emily and Felicia. It was quite spectacular to see these educators embrace each child as individual learners and support all of the children across all domains of development. Truly, the children at Regent experience, “Where the LOVE for learning grows” as quoted on Regent’s Home Page Website.
This journey has been a blessing to me as it has provided me with bountiful growth both professionally and personally. As a professional I have been able to contribute to the team at Regent with my current knowledge and experience gained from recently completing my studies in the Leadership Degree Program at George Brown College. During my experience I was able to support the K2 teachers Emily and Felicia with their own professional excellence by visiting and sharing ideas on the Standards of Practice from the College of Early Childhood Educators of Ontario. It has been rewarding and fulfilling to see established partnerships with professional affiliations during our visit to Suzhou’s Early Childhood Education College (SECEC).
Lastly, I would like to thank George Brown College for giving me this wonderful opportunity and my mentors on this trip Colette Kane and Maria Ciampini for their professional guidance and support given throughout this experience. It was difficult to decline taking up a working opportunity at Regent for a year, however, I am pleased to learn that the doors of Suzhou Regent International Preschool are open to me in the future. I would like to conclude by saying that, the responsibility of raising a child to his or her full potential does not solely lie on the parents but the whole community and all of those that directly or indirectly affect these children on a daily basis. The African adage, “It takes a village to raise a child” is a vision that is tangible at Regent, which is incredibly rewarding and fulfilling for the children, their families, educators and community. Words cannot express my heartfelt gratitude, respect, and admiration for the educators and team at Regent. Thank you for having me and 我爱你 (Wǒ ài nǐ/I love you) Regent.
Kate Irish, June 6, 2013
Coming to China has been an incredible gift and privilege that I am so thankful that George Brown College has given me. Watching the teachers and their kind and warm interactions with each other and the children has inspired me. These children are encouraged to freely express themselves and develop all of their skills. The teachers and staff work really hard a bringing the best out of each child. This incredible experience has really touched my heart and makes me want to become a better teacher. I'm feeling drawn to want to come back for another year.
Carla Henao, June 5, 2013
There are not enough words to express my experience in China. The smiles, the laughs and the welcoming environment at Regent International Preschool has been priceless.
My class consists of 10 wonderful, brilliant, cheerful children who are learning 3 languages: English, Mandarin and Japanese. They are all eager to learn and all have positive attitudes while adapting to a new language and new materials.
It has been an amazing journey in China and coming with an open mind has allowed me to experience different foods and a different culture from mine. In this once in a lifetime opportunity, I have grown as a person and have built great team work ethics that will allow me to become the best GBC student that I could be.
I would do this trip all over again if I could and I have to give thanks to GBC for allowing such a great opportunity and experience that I will never forget.
Lyuba Ivanova, June 2, 2013
George Brown College provides students with many learning opportunities. The China Project is one of them for the Early Childhood Program. I came to Suzhou with an open mind to all the experiences in the school and in the culture. Everyone I met, teachers, children and their families were very welcoming. They helped to bring out the best of myself and to experience their culture. I communicated with the teachers and parents to ensure my professional intentions and their knowledge of the children were blended together and imbedded in the curriculum. They valued my strategies and knowledge as I valued theirs, and together we created new and varied experiences for the children to learn and grow. The children were excited to take each bit of everything I had to offer. I was amazed to see the extent of learning that was taking place by having everyone’s strengths put together to create the best nurturing and diverse environment for developing. During my unforgettable experience I reflected on my practices and learned while having fun and helping develop children’s skills. One day if I have the opportunity to come back I will.
Amanda Amare, June 1, 2013
Beginning my second year of the C100 program as a China project student makes me feel incredibly lucky. Suzhou is breathtaking, much like the eighteen brilliant children in my Junior Kindergarten classroom (K1). In the short time that I’ve been here, I have grown so much. This trip has brought out a new found confidence in me as an educator that I didn’t know I had. It has taught me to be more patient, more articulate and more understanding in everything I do and everyone I do it with. Especially the children, many of them are learning English as a THIRD language!
I have had a great time exploring the rich history and culture China has to offer as well. One experience in particular that I loved was my visit to the Confucius Temple. I participated in a old ritual that is believed to bring enlightenment and success to those who wish for it… I think it worked!
Diya David, May 31, 2013
Ni Hao (Hi) from Suzhou, China! I am a student in the first graduating cohort of the Early Childhood Leadership Degree program at George Brown College. Coming to China, has felt like jumping into a dream portal ever since I received the e-mail of being approved to be on the Team. During the last two weeks, I have learnt how to dodge E-bikes on the busy streets of Suzhou, explore Chinese cuisine and take in the authentic cultural beauty China has to offer.
Today is ‘Children’s Day!’, and we celebrated their existence by supporting a great school team put on a fabulous event! My role over these few weeks is to assist the educators in their programming and curriculum by using my skills to enhance children’s experiences through engaging in observations, play-based learning and exploration. Today I volunteered to wear a Garfield costume and dance on the cat walk for the children, along with 3 other volunteers. I later assisted the tattoos and face painting station.
My experiences here at the Regent International Preschool in Suzhou have been life changing and I have my team, the staff, families, children and family members back home to thank for the support and encouragement they have provided me with, to come this far, be a part of a great teaching environment and grow as a leader.
Read more letters from students 2008-2009