2019 Ottawa Summer School - Week 1

Departure & Arrival

On July 27th, 23 students of Class of 2023 Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine arrived at University of Ottawa. The University of Ottawa is the oldest English-French bilingual university in Canada and largest in the world, uOttwa also takes its place in the top range of medical schools in Canada. No sooner had we stepped into the city than we are immersed in the sunshine and multidimensional local culture.

On July 29th, we participated in the Orientation, got a basic understanding of the local culture and some study tips. After that, we toured around the campus and finally started our summer school program.


On Tuesday morning, we had our first lecture in the University of Ottawa. The three courses that we will be taking include Social and Culture Anthropology, Introduction to Psychology: Applications and English for Academic Purposes for Medicine. During the Anthropology course, apart from lecturing, the professor also used Podcast and documentary to enrich our learning experience and to have a better understanding on the ways of human life, cultures and social systems. While for the psychology course, the professor gave us a brief introduction on Darwin’s evolutionary theory, natural and artificial selection, hereditary and genetics, and sociobiology. For the English course, the professor used several exercises to improve our listening and speaking skills. Despite of the tight schedule, we all had a fun time with this western teaching and learning style. Let’s wait and see what the lectures of the next week will bring us!

Living in Ottawa

At least one third of the time in Ottawa will be spent in dormitories, so the quality of living conditions largely determines the quality of life here. And the dormitory conditions of the University of Ottawa are so good that someone even questioned that -- "the conditions are so good, how can students here study hard? "The "presidential suite", shared by two people, not only has two separate spacious bedrooms, a bathroom that doesn't leak as long as you take a shower carefully, but also a small living room that functions as a kitchen and dining room. 

Because the University of Ottawa has unique geographical advantages, our students can deeply understand the culture of the city besides the busy study. Look at that, the giant spider! The National Gallery of Canada, located in downtown Ottawa, is a historic museum filled with European and Canadian art treasures of all ages, and the big spider at the gate is its bold and unique symbol. Catching the free museum tour every Thursday night after class, we got there. In the palace of art, we are dazzled by passionate works of great artists, and shocked from the bottom of our heart. The scenery is infinitely good, but it takes time to recover from the jet lag. Early in the morning, looking from the dormitory on the tenth floor, the light from the cloud looks pale, and the light from the buildings is dim. Every night at 7 or 8 o 'clock, we  feel as tired as if we had stayed up all night, but in the morning at 4 or 5 o 'clock, we feel as refreshed as if we have just finished the class. Let time work out this wonderful change in time!

Another beautiful tourist attraction within our reach is the Parliament Hill. As an important historical and political monument in Canada, it attracts numerous visitors every year. Taking advantage of a half-day holiday, we followed the history and walked to parliament hill. Looking up at the gothic style of the magnificent buildings, and overlooking distant of modern city, watching the clear Ottawa river flowing from the foot, as if the time and space are divided at the moment.

Students' thoughts and observations

Student A: Watch out for the buttons. Nearly all doors here have a button for disabilities to ensure their unobstructed access, which is not yet common in China. Moreover, if you want to cross the road or get off the bus, please find the button and push it, or you could never get off!

Student B: Canada has a plan trying to make sure every cup of tap water is drinkable. That’s how they can achieve the plastic free goal (people don’t need to buy bottle water at all). Canada is the country that has the safest tap water, all you need to do is to overcome your psychological barrier, get a cup of tap water and drink it. But it’s not hot enough to make coffee, what a pity.

Student C: The price tag is not the "true price" here, which means you need to pay tax and tips additionally. Usually, the tax is 13% of the price tag and if you are in a restaurant, it’s a traditional rule to pay a tip for your waiter or waitress, which is normally 15%.

Student D: In Canada, I found that only Asian girls hold umbrellas to prevent the rain and the sun lights. Canadian girls seem don’t like umbrellas that much.

Student E: Take good care of your credit card here. Because when paying with your credit card, you just need to put the card on the machine without typing in the password or signature.