Graduating students from the 2014 Green Path class (all photos by Ken Jones)

Green Path: 10 years of helping students from China adjust to university

Program celebrates more than 1,400 graduates over past decade

When Kobe Sun and Camellia Tian reflect on their time in the Green Path program, the memories go beyond building academic skills or adjusting to life in a new country.

It was during a Green Path class trip to Wonderland in 2010 that the couple met and began dating. They are now happily married. 

“It’s such a great program because it made the transition to a new country so much easier,” says Sun, who graduated from the University of Toronto Scarborough with a degree in computer science and now works at Amazon Canada.  “But the trip we took to Wonderland will always stick out as something special,” he says with a smile.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of UTSC’s Green Path program, a 12-week summer preparatory program that invites top high school students from China to build their academic skills while adapting to life in Canada. Once students successfully complete the program, they go directly into first-year undergraduate studies at U of T.

To celebrate the anniversary, delegates from the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China, Bank of China Canada and U of T’s School of Continuing Studies attended this year's graduation. The ceremony included live musical and dance performances; scholarships were also awarded to 14 students.

“Green Path is a reflection of the increasingly connected and diversified world we live in,” said UTSC Interim Principal Bruce Kidd (pictured at right with Consul General Fang Li). “Each student brings with them a valued perspective that serves to strengthen and enrich our understanding of our complex world. I encourage you to learn from each other as you become responsible, mature and socially-conscious adults.”

When the program began 10 years ago, most of the students were enrolled in business administration, computer science or math programs. Today, the newest group represents a wide range of academic disciplines including 120 students who are enrolled in various science programs, 92 in business administration (including management co-op) and 42 who are enrolled in the arts, humanities and social sciences.

More than 1,400 students have completed the program since its inception in 2005. Many of the students go on to achieve a high level of academic success at U of T, with all of the students earning at least a 3.00 GPA or higher. (Read more about some of Green Path's groundbreaking graduates.)

For 16-year-old Linwen Huang the memories made over the past few months are just the beginning. Her academic journey begins in earnest in just a few weeks, when she starts her undergraduate studies in business management.

“Green Path is like a family and it’s made me feel very comfortable about coming to a new city and a new country for the first time,” she says. “It’s been an awesome experience and I can’t wait to start the semester.” 

Don Campbell is a writer with the University of Toronto Scarborough.

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