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December 16, 2010
When you combine optimism, energy, determination and education, good things happen. This is certainly the case for business student Bing Zou, who began her Camosun journey with an entry level ESL course (English as a Second Language). Now, after only four years of progressive study, Zou is about to graduate with a degree in Business Administration—her fifth Camosun credential.
New beginnings, step-by-step
Zou grew up in mainland China, where she attained a law diploma. She worked for a couple of years and started to develop her career, but in 2004 she decided to follow in the footsteps of her only sister and relocate to Victoria. It didn't take Zou long to realize that if she wanted a career equal to what she had in China, she would need to improve her English.
"In China I learned basic English grammar and vocabulary, but I couldn't speak very well. So, when I came here I just took things step-by-step," says Zou. "I chose to come to Camosun for my English classes, because Camosun has a very good reputation. It seemed that every two years, I was ready for a next step, and I could see where I wanted to go."
CAPE—an awesome stepping stone for professionals
Zou credits much of her academic success to Camosun's CAPE program, the Certificate in Academic and Professional English. CAPE is designed to help internationally trained professionals prepare for careers or further education in Canada. Instructor Judith Hunt says, "We help our students gain the soft skills to give them a leg up when developing their careers. We help them develop language skills, work on their résumés, practise networking, and understand the Canadian job market." Even if students already have good vocabulary and grammar skills, they may need help with socio-cultural knowledge. "We help them with that, too," says Hunt.
"CAPE is awesome!" says Zou. "I had a career in China, and I wanted to learn what's different in the Canadian work environment." Zou says she really enjoyed her classes and the real-work assignments, including 40-hours of job shadowing and conducting an informational interview with a working professional. "In CAPE, they really teach you professional English in all kinds of applied settings. It was kind of stressful at first, but you get exposed to real work, and it's a wonderful experience." Zou stays in contact with her job shadow host, and even did some volunteer work for them after. "Because of CAPE, I have Canadian work experience to add to my resume."
Taking care of business
During her time at Camosun, Zou has earned four credentials and won a scholarship for her positive attitude and high academic standing in her business classes. Her credentials include a Certificate in Academic and Professional English (CAPE); a Certificate in English Language Development-level 2; a Certificate in Professional Accounting, and a Diploma in Business Administration. Using her diploma to ladder into the business degree program, Zou is nearing completion of the Bachelor of Business Administration.
Last updated: September 23, 2015 5:12 pm