Touchdown BNUZ!

For the first class in a two-part introduction to Canadian football, our visiting students met with Head Football Coach James Colzie III and seven members of the Huskies team for a look at the history of the game and its importance in Canadian varsity athletics.

Although football has yet to gain widespread popularity in China, one of the newest members of the Huskies is a young man from Beijing who was determined to join the squad this year. Michael Turner, who is preparing to begin his studies in the International Master of Teaching English (IMTE) program at Saint Mary’s in September, said he was drawn to the sport by its toughness and emphasis on teambuilding. Michael didn’t have a great deal of experience playing the sport until recently. “Coach Colzie has given me a great opportunity. Now I want to become a warrior on the field alongside my teammates,” he said.

Following Coach Colzie’s introduction to the history of football in Canada, the rules and objectives of the game, and some of the Huskies’ legendary exploits on the field, the BNUZ students had a chance to try on some football gear and learn how to throw the ball.

Now that they know the fundamentals and have an idea of the effort Coach expects from every player and prospect, the students will get a taste of what it takes to become a Husky next Friday at the BNUZ@SMU Football Boot Camp. “We’re going to put you though your paces and see what you’ve got,” he said.

Mapping out the story of Halifax

Today’s class offered an overview of the history of Halifax and provided our visiting BNUZ students a glimpse into the lives of the many people and cultures that have contributed to its past, present, and future.

Facilitated by Will Flanagan, a cartographer and map librarian with the Geography and Environmental Studies Department, and Albert Lee, a noted photographer and historian of the Chinese experience in Nova Scotia, students were guided on an illustrated tour. Beginning with Mi'kmaq settlements thousands of years ago up to the present day, their tour outlined events such as early colonization by British and French settlers, the Halifax Explosion, World Wars I and II, the arrival of immigrant communities from around the world, and the razing of Africville. Each of these were examined as events that not only changed the shape and character of Halifax, but as episodes that shaped the cultural memory of its residents.

Setting the stage for today’s hands-on and interactive session was an enormous map of mid-19th century Halifax, overlaid in places with some of the earliest aerial photographs of the city. With the students gathered around the table, Prof. Flanagan used photographs, engravings, sketches, and even personal letters from early residents to illustrate the how the city has been shaped by social, economic, cultural, and political forces over the centuries.

The second part of today’s class was led by Albert Lee, whose grandfather Ngoon Lee was among the earliest Chinese immigrants to call Halifax home. Mr. Lee explained that his grandfather, who hailed from the small village of Hoi Ping in Guangdong Province, endured a six-week voyage to Canada, finally arriving in Halifax by box car in 1906. One of fewer than 20 Chinese immigrants living in Halifax at the turn of the century, he set up the Sam Wah Laundry on Bliss Street in a renovated boat shed. Having established a going concern (one of the few enterprises early Chinese immigrants were permitted to operate), he sent for his son in China to join him. Ngoon Lee was then forced to pay the $500 Head Tax when his son (later known as Chuck) arrived in Vancouver, which at the time represented well over a year’s salary. Soon after, Canada passed the Chinese Exclusion Act (1923-1947), which further kept families apart by preventing Chinese women from emigrating to Canada.

Despite the hardships and discrimination faced by early Chinese immigrants, Mr. Lee explained that early Chinese settlers thrived in part because of the strong connections they built with other marginalized peoples, including the Mi’kmaq, Acadian, and African Nova Scotian communities around what is now Halifax Regional Municipality. After decades of discrimination and exclusion, Chinese Nova Scotians have gone on to become some of the city’s most successful and well-respected residents.

Albert Lee is included in the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 Oral Histories Project. A clip can be found here:

Eighth Annual Summer Institute Officially Launched

Dr. Malcolm Butler, Vice President Academic & Research, hosted an opening reception for the 2019 Summer Institute on Monday afternoon.

In addition to the BNUZ students, the gathering was attended my the many staff, faculty, and students who contribute to the program, which is now in its eighth year. Dr. Butler commented on Saint Mary’s longstanding commitment to global engagement and interculturalization, and suggested that the Summer Institute was the very embodiment of these principles. "You are the face of this engagement,” he said.

Welcoming our Cultural Sojourners

Staff from the Language Centre and The Studio for Teaching and Learning greeted the latest group of exchange students from Beijing Normal University Zhuhai (BNUZ) on Saturday night. For the next three weeks, the 16 students will attend a program of academic lectures and cultural workshops and visit sites of historic and cultural interest around the city and beyond. 欢迎光临圣玛丽大学!Welcome to Saint Mary’s University!

After a long journey, the students are greeted at Halifax Airport

After a long journey, the students are greeted at Halifax Airport

President Summerby-Murray hosts Farewell Reception

Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray, President and Vice-Chancellor of Saint Mary's University, hosted a Farewell Reception on Friday afternoon to wrap up the seventh annual BNUZ Summer Institute.

The event kicked off with students screening short films highlighting their experiences over the past three weeks. Each of the videos showcased the wide variety of academic learning and cultural experiences that captured their imaginations both on campus and around the city.

Before presenting their academic certificates, Dr Summerby-Murray reflected on how our lives are indelibly marked by broadening our horizons and embracing people from other cultures with open hearts and minds. He challenged the students to continue to embody the ethos of global citizenship upon their return to China.

Dr Zhuwei Wu, who was the group's chaperone during their stay in Canada, thanked the whole Saint Mary's community for welcoming her students, and said that she hoped the long history of friendship and cooperation between Saint Mary's and BNUZ would continue long into the future.

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Mayor Greets Students from Halifax's New Sister City

Mike Savage, Mayor of Halifax Regional Municipality, received our BNUZ students at City Hall, where they were given the opportunity to discuss the many ways Halifax and Zhuhai are building bridges.

Mayor Savage, who recently visited BNUZ during a trip to Zhuhai to discuss economic partnerships and a Friendship Agreement, discussed how Halifax has become a destination in Canada for international students and immigrants. The city, he said, embodies the spirit of multiculturalism and openness to new people and ideas that defines Canada as a whole.

Students were given the opportunity to sit in council chambers, where they asked questions on issues ranging from urbanization and economic growth to study abroad programs and preserving urban greenspace.

Gathering in Mi’kma’ki

Dr Trudy Sable and Dr Bernie Francis welcomed our group to the Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre, where they learned about this land's indigenous people through music, song, ceremonial dance, and storytelling.

Dr Francis, a noted author, linguist, and advocate for Mi'kmaw language and culture (who worked with Doug Smith develop an new orthography for the Mi’kmaw language) also gave students an introduction to the language spoken in this region for many thousands of years. After reflecting on how colonialism and the residential school system nearly destroyed the irreplaceable languages of Mi’kma’ki, Dr Francis explained that preserving indigenous languages is the foundation for ensuring future generations of Canada's First Nations people preserve and celebrate their cultures.

Huskies for a Day!

Head Football Coach James Colzie III and three of his players recruited our BNUZ class as honorary Huskies for a day, introducing them to a sport still largely unknown in China.

After an overview of storied history of the Huskies team, students had a chance to suit up in Huskies gear and spend time with the players. Coach Colzie then invited the class down to the athletics field, where aspiring quarterbacks were put through their paces at a training camp.

Putting Green Roof Technology to the Test

Dr Jeremy Lundholm, a professor in the Biology and Environmental Science departments, runs a green roof ecology research project high above the classrooms at Saint Mary's. During his introductory lecture, Dr Lundholm outlined some of the many energy-saving and ecological benefits of green roof technology, and described some of the cutting-edge research being conducted right here at Saint Mary's.

Leaving the classroom to visit two outdoor research sites, our BNUZ scholars had the chance to participate in some experiments that demonstrate these remarkable benefits. As temperatures topped 30 degrees Celsius, students recorded the temperatures of various artificial and natural roof coverings, noting that surfaces covered by vegetation were significantly cooler than standard roofing membrane. They also conducted experiments that illustrate how large-scale urban green roofs could mitigate stormwater runoff, a major headache in urban centres in both Canada and China.

BNUZ Reaching for the Stars

David Lane, the Director of Saint Mary's famed Burke-Gaffney Observatory, hosted a lecture and tour that drew gasps of amazement from this evening's participants.

After a classroom-based whirlwind tour of the universe, students were invited up to the 23rd floor of the Loyola Building to see the Ralph M. Medjuck Robotic Telescope in action. Following a demonstration of how it can be directed at objects in the cosmos using voice commands, Mr. Lane pointed the telescope towards Jupiter. Between passing wisps of fog, students peering into the eyepiece saw the planet's distinctive red bands, while the Galilean moons (the four largest moons of Jupiter—Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto) were also clearly discernible.

A photo of the Moon taken through the ocular lens of the Ralph M. Medjuck Robotic Telescope. Photo: Yuki

A photo of the Moon taken through the ocular lens of the Ralph M. Medjuck Robotic Telescope. Photo: Yuki

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Sister Cities by the Sea

Halifax, which been developing closer economic partnerships with municipalities in Guangdong Province for several years, recently formalized a 'sister city' agreement with Zhuhai, the home of our visiting exchange students. Both cities share a long maritime history, and this morning's visit to the Maritime Museum was an opportunity for BNUZ students to explore Halifax's nautical past.

Photo credit: Yuki

Sharing the Love at Pride Parade

A few rain showers couldn't dampen the spirits of our resolute BNUZ group, who were swept up in the excitement of the 2018 Halifax Pride Parade.

A few reactions from students:

"No matter your race or your age... all these people came to support the LGBTQ community!"  - Bessy

"I was deeply touched by the Pride Parade because it gave me a sense of equality and liberty." - Yuki

"I was deeply impressed by the people in colourful, fancy clothes and special make-up!"
- Annikay

"[Attending Pride] was an exciting and relaxed activity. We were really surprised!" - Eden

"I liked the floats very much! They were beautiful!" - Eva

"It was pretty fun! I loved it!" - Jade

"So much fun! A fantastic experience!" - Sam

A Taste of Home

Eden, a student from Hohhot, Inner Mongolia (a city famous in China for hotpot) visited a well-known hotpot restaurant on Queen street with a few friends. When asked how it compares to home, Eden says "it was really delicious... but a little pricey!"

Photo by Eden

Photo by Eden

English and Mandarin as Global Languages

Dr. Eric Henry, a linguistic anthropologist whose research explores the use of English and Mandarin as global languages, presented a lecture highlighting the ways in which languages are often adapted by their users. Students reflected on how both English and Mandarin, despite an emphasis on 'standard' usage, exist in many fascinating variations all over the world.

Dr. Eric Henry presents a lecture exploring linguistic variation at the Summer Institute

Dr. Eric Henry presents a lecture exploring linguistic variation at the Summer Institute

Digging Up the Past

Today’s academic lecture - presented by Dr. Jonathan Fowler, an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology – was entitled An Archeological Tour of Halifax. After a classroom introduction to the principles of archeology and an overview of the history of Halifax, students went on an interpreted tour of South End Halifax, where the maps and photographs from the archives examined in class were brought to life. “Today, the city was our classroom,” concluded Dr. Fowler, as the group wrapped up the morning with some treats at a local chocolatier.