by Wendy Terry
originally published in the September, 2010 Issue
Just recently China surpassed Japan as the second largest economy in the world, and so many of us are wondering how to work with China. We keep informed about the United States, still by far the largest economy in the world, in order to accommodate their business customs. Now we need to adapt to the growing Chinese influence. Fortunately, there are continuing education opportunities in Toronto to help us learn the language and culture and how to conduct international business.
Mandarin is taught in school, college and university continuing education programs. The Toronto District School Board, www.learn4life.ca has Mandarin Beginner and Intermediate in schools in all corners of the city.
Centennial College has four levels of Mandarin Conversation plus a special course on Mandarin for Business. Seneca offers seven levels of Mandarin Conversation and after four you receive a Recognition of Achievement certificate. George Brown’s Mandarin courses, though focused on conversation, include an introduction to writing as well as grammar. The School of Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto offers courses in Cantonese and Mandarin. Cantonese is spoken in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong. Mandarin is the official language of China and Taiwan.
Of course there is no end of places to practice Mandarin and Cantonese in Toronto. The older Chinese communities would speak Cantonese speakers and the newer ones, Mandarin. For example Chinatown at Spadina and College is an older community and the Pacific Mall in Markham is a newer one.
International business is taught in CE programs as well. Durham College, Humber College, Sheridan College and the U. of T. School of Continuing Studies offerstand-alone courses in International business. George Brown College, Centennial College and Seneca College have extensive programs. At George Brown under International Business there are course concentrations in Canadian Customs, Financial Management, Marketing, Trade, Traffic and Transportation. Some of these courses have been approved as credits for the Certified International Trade Professional of the Forum for International Trade Training FITT. Seneca offers a Certifcate in Import and Export (8 courses) and after that you qualify to do a Certificate in International Trade Specialist (10 courses).
Cenntennial College has a number of courses listed under International Business that include Banking and Finance, Trade, Trade Law. Centennial has an interesting course in International Management: Strategy and Negotiation. The course helps “… communicate across cultural barriers and make decisions based on key variables in dynamic settings.” Having spent a number of months helping a former student help a friend who is president of a Chinese university, I would have liked to have done this course before. I would have thought out the key differences in educational culture before jumping in. In China colleges and universities are quite separate while in Ontario they form l partnerships.
Ryerson University in the G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education offers an International Business Certificate with specializations in eBusiness and International Management that includes a course in Information Technology Law. Now that is a must given all the recent issues with Google, the Blackberry etc. Ryerson also includes a course on the economics of East Asia. This was the only international business course that focused solely on East Asia that I founding in my scanning of CE calendars.
To better understand Chinese culture, I looked for courses in the liberal arts sections of the Calendars. The Chang School of Continuing Education at Ryerson offers two courses under its history
section: Asia: A Modern History 1899-1999 and A New Age: Asia and the West since 1800.