New agreement set to expand opportunities for Canadian students in China

Federal recognition as a national program ensures that the Canada Learning Initiative in China will continue to grow

A new Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and the Development of Canada and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, signed on December 3, 2017 and witnessed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, will fuel the expansion of the Canada Learning Initiative in China (CLIC), the nation-wide program that facilitates dynamic and accessible opportunities for Canadian students in China.

Launched in February 2016, CLIC has opened new doors for Canadian university students by providing high quality, experiential learning opportunities with strong funding supports to pursue study abroad specifically in China. Since then, 400 Canadian students have participated in CLIC programs.

Previously, Canadian students had been limited in their uptake of opportunities to study in China due to a combination of potential obstacles such as financial limitations, language barriers, and uncertainty regarding credit transfer.

CLIC, which operates as a consortium of Canadian U15 universities led by the University of Alberta, represents the first nation-wide strategic platform designed to connect Canadian students from across the country with structured, high quality learning experiences in China – much in alignment with the U.S.-based “100,000 Strong” initiative.

The consortium, which started with six members and has now grown to nine, is partnered with leading partner universities in China as well as the Chinese Ministry of Education, the China Scholarship Council, and the Education Office of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Canada. The nine Canadian CLIC members include: University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, Université Laval, Université de Montréal, University of Ottawa, Queen’s University, and University of Saskatchewan.

As well as offering a strong scholarship-based funding system for participants that includes subsidized accommodation and a living stipend, CLIC provides 23 approved summer programs and 94 approved exchange agreements, with all courses carefully selected and pre-assessed for credit by participating Canadian universities.

 “The University of Alberta is proud to have played a leadership role in launching this strategy,” says UAlberta President David Turpin. “CLIC has shown impressive growth in its first years and we are seeing overwhelmingly positive response from students who have taken advantage of the program,” adding that 76% of CLIC participants indicate that they now hope to return to China at some point for future learning or work opportunities. 

Government officials in China have praised the CLIC model, recognizing the initiative as a major player in building new potential for Canadian students in China, contributing to enhanced relationships for economics and trade, as well as presenting a model that could be emulated by other countries. “Not only does CLIC support global learning for Canadian students,” adds Turpin, “It also represents a powerful step forward in building the Canada-China networks of the future.”

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