My name is Maggie Chan and I am a consecutive B.Ed. candidate in the Intermediate-Senior division with a specialization in International Education. In being a part of the Queen’s Faculty of Education, I have been given the opportunity to meet amazing people as well as participate in incredible experiences. One experience in particular took place in the form of my alternative practicum this past March, where I was able to complete a placement with Intercultural Education (ICE) Hong Kong, a social enterprise based in the unique region of Hong Kong that focuses on shaping globally-minded individuals and their proficiency in intercultural communication.
As an aspiring international educator, I have always been interested in culturally responsive education and global citizenship. As such, for my alternative practicum, I wanted to see how other educational stakeholders such as social enterprises approached this in comparison to a traditional classroom setting. With ICE Hong Kong, I was able to get directly involved in cultural sharing activities and cross-cultural teaching scenarios within local secondary schools. Alongside several other international guests from around the world, we worked to spark student interest towards appreciation and awareness of other cultures and perspectives through lessons, assemblies, simulations, and workshops. One of my favourite parts of this process was facilitating discussion with the students about cultural differences and misconceptions as I shared information about Canada and learning from them about how they viewed themselves as Hongkongers.
The core ICE Hong Kong team consisting of Till, Aggie, and Jey was a fantastic group of individuals from whom I learned a great deal about the importance of developing one’s intercultural competency as preparation for today’s global challenges. Since the majority of the ICE Hong Kong team did not hail from a background in education but rather from various areas of study and viewpoints, working with them provided a fascinating outlook on embracing diversity and conducting successful cultural interaction amongst others. I was able to apply my own knowledge and experience in education to the content of the organization’s work on both project development and lesson planning geared towards developing practical skills and lifelong learning. Above all, meeting the range of people involved in ICE Hong Kong such as its team members, interns, and other organizational contacts was a wonderful occasion that, to me, truly reflected the nature of our ever-diversifying world.
My alternative practicum experience has no doubt been a highlight within my Queen’s B.Ed. experience. Thus, I highly encourage current and/or future B.Ed. students to consider the vast amount of opportunities one can pursue with it as well as the available financial aid for them (I was fortunate enough to receive an Elliot Travel Fellowship Award to help alleviate the costs of going abroad). It is a distinctive Queen’s B.Ed. program feature unlike any other!
Good luck! Please feel free to follow my future educational endeavours with my Twitter @MissChanEdu.