Since 2016, the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine has hosted a group of students from Shanghai for a month-long Summer School Program followed by a 2-week joint Introduction to the Profession Unit in the Undergraduate Medical Program as part of their Pre-Medicine Program.This year, 23 students from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (SJTUSM) arrived on July 23rd to begin taking classes in Anthropology, Psychology, and English for Medical Purposes with University of Ottawa professors from the Faculty of Social Science and the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute.
During this time, the students got a real taste of Canadian student life at the University of Ottawa’s main campus – living in residence at 90U, spending time studying at the Morisset Library, working-out at the gym, and of course grabbing a Tim Horton’s coffee on the way to class.To encourage the students to get out and explore both the campus and the city, the International and Global Health Office (IGHO) staff organized a photo scavenger hunt requiring the students to take selfies at popular sites such as Parliament Hill, the Ottawa sign in the Byward Market, the UOttawa sign behind Tabaret Hall and the Living Wall at the Faculty of Social Science. Having completed their courses, including oral presentations on various diseases, essays on culture, ethics, identity and politics, and exams on the theories and applications of psychology, the 4-week intensive program was capped off with a Departure Reception where 13 of the students, from the SJTUSM English Stream received Certificates of Completion and returned to China.
The remaining 10 students admitted to the Ottawa-Shanghai Joint School of Medicine (OSJSM) joined their peers in the uOttawa MD2023 cohort at the Faculty of Medicine for the Introduction Unit of the MD curriculum. A unique feature of this part of the program is the Peer Support Program (PSP), whereby the OSJSM students are matched with a MD2023 peer with similar interests in the hopes of creating lifelong friends from a different culture, and opportunities to collaborate on projects and research.Together the OSJSM students and their uOttawa peers attended lectures on Professionalism, Ethics, Epidemiology, Physician Wellness, Indigenous Health and the Traditional Healer, and classes on Case-Based Learning (CBL) and Physician Skills Development (PSD).“We realized that being a physician means more than just taking care of patients but also taking social accountability and protect the well-being of human in different levels”. Students also attended special events such as the Indigenous Celebration with its delicious food, and the inspirational White Coat Ceremony.
At the end of this unique international program experience, a final Departure Ceremony was held with dignitaries from the Chinese Embassy, Dr. Jacques Bradwejn, the founding Dean of the Ottawa-Shanghai Joint School of Medicine, and Dr. Mark Walker, Director of IGHO, who demonstrated his well-honed language skills by giving a farewell speech in Mandarin. After the official presentation of certificates of completion, everyone had light refreshments and reflected on this wonderful international experience. “We all feel that Canada is too marvelous for us to leave…This experience will be a treasure of our lives and we will definitely come to visit again in the future.”