Starting on 1st August , 2016 , I spent approximately 3 weeks conducting systematic investigation on the education system in Canada, visiting mainly three cities : Toronto, Montreal and Quebec. Not only did I get a comparatively detailed acknowledgment of its education system, I also had a better understanding of its culture, transportation system and also its complicated history. In the paragraphs to follow, I will share with you my unique experiences in this marvelous country and the introduction will mainly deals with the following aspects: its natural environment, public transportation system, main and sub-cultures and of course its education system.
The Amazing Environment
Exhausted as I was after a -13 -hour journey by air, I was refreshed by the amazing natural environment on the way to the first destination---Toronto located south-east of this country. Lying along both sides of the road are numerous maple trees which Canada is famous for, together with vast grassland which can be seldom seen in modern cities in
China. Despite the fact that Toronto is the largest city in Canada, the sky is unbelievably clean, which shows a sharp contrast in most cities in China. What is especially worth mentioning is that squirrels can be seen from time to time skipping about in the grassland or running after each other in the tree. A splendid scenery is always ready for you wherever you go.
Convenient and Considerate Transportation
Although the present public transportation system in Canada appears not so modern as that of most cities in China, it is convenient enough for the local people to go from one place to another since there are fewer people and most of the families own their own cars. What impresses me most is that people here do not have to pay fees for driving in the high-way, which is quite different from that in China. While driving on the high-way, people will turn their lights on so that other drivers can easily identify the cars around them; many traffic accidents can be avoided especially in winter when heavy snows often covers the road and the cars,especially the white ones are hard to be recognized against the white snow.
In terms of obeying the traffic rules, I do think that most of the local people do much better than us Chinese people. For instance, people driving on the road seldom change their lanes and seldom will they press the horn to alarm or urge the others. Whenever they come across the sign
saying "stop", the driver will stop for no less than 3 seconds before they restart their vehicles,whether there are monitors or not. In Canada, the school bus is well-designed and has the driving privilege second only to the police car; pedestrians own the right to cross the road first where there are no traffic lights or a "stop" sign.
Here is a detailed description on how to take advantage of public transportation vehicles in Toronto(TTC). Providing that you start from Longview Driver Station and you want to go to the China Town in the downtown, you have to first cast a tinny coin called "token" (3tokens for 10 dollars)in the box standing right beside the front door of the bus. At the same time, you have to ask the bus driver for a transfer ticket which might be shown to the ticket checker in the entrance of the subway. When you come back from China town, you put another tinny coin in the box watched by a subway worker, and press the red button of a machine nearby to get another transfer ticket since you have to show it to the bus driver later. In short, just one tinny coin,you have access to both the bus and the subway. Of course, you can purchase a day-pass,in which case, you can enjoy your free access to any public transportation tools wherever you go.
Melting Pot in Canada
Montreal is called the City of Saints and also La ville aux cent clochers because there are many churches in this city and every church has a clock
tower. Much to my surprise, every church has a light green roof because the metal used to build the roof changed in a chemical way after being exposed in air for a long time. Most of people are catholic in religion, and some committed prayers are often seen,especially in the famous cathedrals, kneeling down one step after another along the stone stairs up to the entrance of the gate to show their uttermost loyalty to the gods.
When wandering around the street in Montreal, it is very easy to notice the "melting pot "phenomenon in terms of culture. For instance, you can notice people, the young in particular, cos themselves and wander about with their companions, which is very common and widely accepted and appreciated. In addition, many street performers are frequently seen playing some musical instruments or singing songs in different languages to attract visitors passing by. Chances are that the passers by will put one or two coins in the hat lying on the ground, by means of which these street performers earn their living. However, as a visitor in this city, you have to watch out for the surroundings all the time since it is not so safe as you might expect. It is said that the local police will not bother to respond actively to your call on condition that someone has been killed or something that serious has occurred.
To Drink or Not To Drink: Icewine
Icewine is a rare and exceptional wine from Canada. Pillitteri Winery is proud to be the world's largest estate producer of icewine. World
renowned Pillitteri Estates icewine has been the winner of hundreds of prestigious awards both internationally and domestically. Most wines grapes are harvested in September and October; however, to produce icewine, the grapes are harvested in December or January when the temperatures have reached at least 8 minus degrees. Once harvested, the grapes are pressed immediately, giving a minimal amount of juice that is very concentrated. The end result is a unique desert wine commonly referred to as "The Nectar of the Gods". Icewine production is regulated by the Vintner's Quality Alliance(VQA), Canada's system of wine standards, and ensures the best quality wines are produced from the finest grapes grown in Canada. To be absolutely sure of the quality and authenticity of a Canadian Icewine, be sure to look for the VQA symbol on the label. Icewine makes a perfect and special gift that is uniquely Canadian. Wines are often enjoyed before meals so as to have a better appetite and are popular among the locals.
Equity ---The Core of Education
When it comes to the education system, the first question that pops up in your mind may be like this: what on earth is the difference between the education system in Canada and that in China since there is no Gaokao ? To start with, the education system in Canada is based on the principle of equity, which means ensuring the equal access to education resources as much as possible for all the students is of great significance. In addition,
the grades recorded in the course of learning is much more important because they will be used when the students apply for universities. Since the entire society values honesty to a great extent , students are graded objectively and honestly, which in turn guarantees the public confidence of teachers. On top of that, Being admitted to the university does not necessarily mean that you can graduate. Grade 10--12, which is called senior high school in China, is comparatively not that tough compared with the following 4 years in the university. If university students should fail often in the homework and the tests, they are likely to face elimination, the rate of which can reach up to about 20% in their first year. Last but not least, Seldom do teachers in senior high schools use standard teaching materials while they do have basic curriculum criteria. Teachers are relatively more free in carrying out their teaching procedures and choosing their unique materials to achieve the high efficiency they expect.
In general, senior high schools in Canada can be classified into two categories: public schools funded by the government and private schools receiving no money form the government. Learning here is more of the students' responsibility rather than that of teachers'.
In public schools, teachers will not care if a student is absent from class or performs poorly in their academic studies. Neither will they inform the parents of all the information the teachers often send in China. That is the
reason why many Chinese students feel at a loss, finding it rather challenging to adapt themselves to the new environment. Thus, they often fail to live up to their parents expectations and expectations of their own. Sometimes,some students even become addicted to drugs and eventually drop out of school , which their parents know almost nothing about.
In private schools, the situation may be relatively better. Providing that you are a Grade Two student in China and you want to study in Toronto, the procedures will go as follows: first of all, you have to find a reliable school that is willing to enroll you as their student. Then, you will complete math and English placement tests, the results of which will determine the Grade where you are distributed. Supposing your English level does not meet the requirements for studying abroad, the ESL (English as Second Language) course will be offered to polish up your English so that you can understand teachers' instructions and acquire knowledge in an effective way. What's more, you have to decide the major for your university study in advance and then choose the compulsory subjects related to it so that you can offer the scores required for university application. For instance, If you want to apply for the Business Management Department in Toronto University, you have to offer at least your score of IELTS(International English Language Testing System雅思) , your math, your science. Therefore, you have to choose IELTS course, math, and science accordingly in the senior high to get
yourself fully prepared . Finally, you will be required to take a EQAO test and pass it before you graduate from high school.
In all, a senior high school student has to attain 30 credits before they graduate. The principle has the right to give international students at most 23 credits according to the scores which they have got before they went abroad. However, not all the 30 credits are related to their academic achievements , some of which must be acquired by means of community service.
In Canada, great importance is attached to achieving the development of education, which can be best illustrated from the large sum of money distributed in education field,and the government are fully aware of the fact that any country that is blind to education is doomed to fall behind and suffer.
One fact well worth noticing is that employers lay more emphasis on the major while the brand of the university often comes first in university graduates taking the job interview.