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Exchanging Knowledge

CSC Students

In the past four years, Schulich Medicine & Dentistry has welcomed many medical students from China through the China Scholarship Council (CSC) program. The program gives students an opportunity to come to Canada for a 12-month period and conduct research under the supervision of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry faculty.

XinYang Liao, Lu Lu, Wanyu Wang, Binggang Wu and Yuanwei Xu are this year’s CSC group.

Providing students with an opportunity to complete research in an international context serves to further their scientific learning, and it also fosters the existing strategic relationship between Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and the West China Medical Center of Sichuan University.

Hon Leong, PhD, Terry Peters, PhD, Dr. Daniel Bainbridge and Robert Gros, PhD, are a few of the supervisors acting as mentors to the current group of CSC students.

Speaking about his experience working with the CSC students, Leong said, “I get a kick out of doing research with the students and it really reminds me of when I was a graduate student when I see the excitement they get from research results. The students work so hard and have a great knack for research.”

Sharing Leong’s experience with the students, Gros echoes, “I enjoy the interaction and opportunity to ignite the excitement of research in the CSC students, and I hope to instill the passion for continuing research when the students go back home.”

Peters added that one of the things he appreciates about the CSC students is the unique culture they bring to his lab, “The five current intake students organized an unforgettable Chinese New Year celebration for the whole lab last month. It has been great to have them bring some of their culture to our lab.”

But it isn’t just the students who are sharing their Chinese traditions—their supervisors are helping to introduce them to new Canadian customs, too.

“I think it’s important to expose them to Canadian culture while they are here, so I have taken them to a sugar bush, Grand Bend and they’ve come to my house for Christmas to see how we celebrate this holiday in Canada,” said Dr. Bainbridge. “If given the opportunity, I would take another CSC student under my supervision. They provide a new perspective on research and it’s always good to share experiences.”

Nearing the end of their time in Canada, we met up with the five CSC students to learn about their experiences since arriving on campus last August. They shared their thoughts about Canada, their research opportunities and in true Canadian fashion - their love of Tim Hortons.

XinYang
XinYang Liao

Liao is a fifth year undergraduate Bachelor of Science student majoring in medical science, with a specialization in urology from the West China Medical Center of Sichuan University. He is researching ‘specific protein and its effect on prostate cancer cell metastasis’ with his supervisor, Hon Leong, PhD.

Why did you decide to study in Canada and come to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
I know a former CSC student who came to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry in the past year. They had a positive experience. Coming to Canada, gave me the opportunity to devote all my time to research. This is not possible as medical students in China; we have many other duties and internships in hospitals to complete.

What have been some of the surprises you have encountered during your time in Canada?
I think I expected the Canadian lifestyle to be more slow-paced. In my lab, people work very long hours because they are so devoted to their research. I’ve realized how passionate people are about science and their enthusiasm has influenced me. It will be something that I take back with me.
Lu Lu
Lu Lu
Lu is a fifth year undergraduate Bachelor of Science student majoring in medical science, with a specialization in neurology from the West China Medical Center of Sichuan University. She is researching ‘the effects of methylphenidate on sensory filtering and social behavior in a prenatally valproic acid model’ with her supervisor, Susanne Schmid, PhD.

Why did you decide to study in Canada and come to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
I have wanted to come to study abroad since high school and explore the world. My cousin is also here in Canada and he recommended that I come study here so I could experience the Canadian medical system. It’s also a great opportunity to learn something new.

What is something new you have experienced in Canada?
Canadian academics require more self-motivation, whereas at home, we are more peer motivated. Dormitories are mandatory in China, so I am assigned a core group of four or five people who I can study with always.
Wanyu
Wanyu Wang
Wang is a fifth year undergraduate Bachelor of Science student majoring in medical science, with a specialization in anesthesia from the West China Medical Center of Sichuan University. She is researching ’3D tracked ultrasound to investigate the effect of different body positions on the size of IJV’ with her supervisor, Dr. Daniel Bainbridge.  

What skills do you think you have learned at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
I have learned to have a new attitude about work. When you do a job you must love it and be very passionate so that you can get better and become extraordinary.

Is there anything about Canada you will miss when you go home to China?
Double-double coffees from Tim Hortons! I hope I can find a way to have Tim Hortons when I go home. I talked with my friend, who is also a CSC, and we want to open a Tim Hortons when we go back to China!

Binggang
Binggang Wu
Wu is a fourth year undergraduate Bachelor of Science student majoring in medical sciences, with a specialization in cardiac surgery and bioengineering from the West China Medical Center of Sichuan University. He is researching the ‘role of cholinergic system in cardiovascular disease’ with his supervisor, Robert Gros, PhD.

What is something new you have noticed between Chinese and Canadian academic environments?
The relationship between supervisors and students is different in China than in Canada. Here, supervisors and students are more like friends. They care about your life, your research and your studies. You can talk to them without any barriers. In China, your mentor or supervisor is your superior, so it is not very easy to get close to them.

How would you describe your experience in the CSC program if a Chinese student from your home university asked you about it?
I would tell them that it is a worthwhile experience and that it is a great time to learn a new culture and lifestyle. In Canada, I am less busy than when I was completing my studies in China, so this has been a good opportunity for me to think about my future, learn new lab techniques and improve on my language skills. You will also make a lot of friends!

Yuanwei
Yuanwei Xu

Xu is a fifth year undergraduate Bachelor of Science student majoring in medical sciences, with a specialization in Cardiology from the West China Medical Center of Sichuan University. She is researching ‘Cardiovascular imaging: quantitative measurement of mitral valve morphology’ with her supervisor, Terry Peters, PhD.

Why did you decide to study in Canada and come to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry?
It was a difficult decision to make, because when I return to China I will have to work extra hard to catch up with my studies, but I wanted to try something different. If I didn’t take the opportunity to do the CSC program I would have regretted it. This year away from home has helped me think about my future and experiencing life in Canada is very interesting.

What has your experience in your research lab been like?
Everyone in my lab is trying to solve some sort of research problem and they work very hard. I want to make good use of my time here in the lab to learn more and get a greater idea about the work I am doing.  In the future I would be interested in participating in a collaboration between a Chinese and Canadian research project. It is a big dream.