Doctoral students spend week in Beijing with Australian, Chinese counterparts
February 1, 2016 - It’s not often a graduate student gets to step away from his or her research to connect with others from the other side of the world, for the purpose of discussing doctoral research across cultures-- what it means to research across cultures and to challenge previously held understandings of language, research, education and the broader social cultural context.
It’s even less frequent for these students to have the opportunity to sit down together, face-to-face, to carry out these dialogues.
But that’s what recently took place for five doctoral students in the Werklund School of Education who travelled to China for a week with faculty coordinator Janet Groen and faculty advisor Sylvie Roy. For five days, they took part in a research seminar with counterparts from Beijing Normal University (BNU) and Australia’s Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
While BNU and QUT were celebrating the tenth year of their academic and cultural exchange, the Werklund students were the first group from the University of Calgary to take part in the well-established exchange program.
The program was broken in to three segments; first, the selected Werklund students met to get to know each other, both personally and academically. They also learned about educational reform in international contexts--in this case Australia, Canada and China.
Next came the week long exchange in early December , where the students from the three universities got together in Beijing for a week long seminar, where they had the opportunity to learn from each other, formally through presentations and question and answer opportunities and informally through sharing meals, walking to various venues and coffee breaks. “Watching the growing relationships unfold with the students from all three universities was wonderful to witness, says Groen, an associate professor whose focus is on adult education.
In the final phase, the students are continuing their engagement by participating in writing and presentation opportunities through the preparation of conference proposals, poster and lunch-and-learn presentations and co-authoring journal articles.
“What is particularly unique about this doctoral research seminar is that it not just a simple exchange,” says Groen.
“We’re seeing sustained engagement through all phases of the international doctoral research seminar, and that’s the real impact of program. Students are really dialoguing about this broadening of their understanding of research--both the context and the process--and the opportunity to work with other doctoral students in China and Australia is certainly contributing to their own individual research programs in a very positive way.“
The students will meet in Calgary later this year for a program organized by the Werklund School, and in 2017, they will gather at QUT in Brisbane, Australia. In the meantime, Werklund students are holding an info session their research experience for faculty, post-doctoral scholars and graduate students on February 5; all are welcome to attend this free event, but an rsvp is requested by February 3 as a light lunch will be served. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org. to rsvp or for more information.