SBE students hold workshops in China

A group of ten Wilfrid Laurier University business students traveled to Beijing and Shenzhen, China in early July to head workshops for students at international high schools.

Members of the Link student organization within Laurier’s school of business and economics conducted the workshops in business and entrepreneurship for Chinese students. The trip was coordinated as part of Link and the university’s International Student Leadership Conference (ISLC) program.

The Chinese international high schools that hosted the workshops provide students with a Chinese and Canadian high school diploma, the first schools permitted by the Chinese government to do so, meaning that their graduates usually complete their post-secondary education in Canada or the U.S.

“We teach workshops and seminars on business and leadership, focusing more on business operations, marketing and HR,” Link co-president Amira Dhalla explained. “It’s like a skimmed-down version of what we do in a first-year business program.”

She added that the workshops focus on leadership skill building and simply provide the opportunity to build on the students’ English language skills.

The Laurier students stand to benefit substantially from the trip as well according to Laurier International director Peter Donahue. “The initial goal was to give students in the Link program exposure to China and what is happening in China today,” he said.

Dhalla added that in addition to experiencing China, especially cultural differences, the trip provides students an opportunity to take a teaching role and communicate ideas to the high school students, despite language difficulties.

“We’ve learned so much over four years but there’s never been a time where we’ve had to teach what we learned,” she said. “Are you going to be able to teach that to another demographic, especially one that doesn’t speak English very well?”

“If you think of the economic perspective that China and India are moving into, to have this kind of firsthand experience as a business student helps to become more globally-aware,” Donahue said, underscoring the value students can derive from involvement in the program.

Laurier, which has opened an office in China, as a whole will benefit from cooperation with Chinese institutions through arrangements like this. Graduates from the faculty of education are going to teach at the schools involved in the ISLC according to Donahue.

“The benefit for Laurier is to give us a platform that we can engage with China for our students,” he said. “We have social work students, business students and education students who are all gaining access to China through opportunities at these schools.”

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