From Hong Kong to Calgary – One Conversation at a Time

From left to right: Ina Liu Niu, Lynda Snyder, Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, Eva Lo Ng Mei Kuen, and Anthony Wong

“Every day is a bonus.” This is the motto of Anthony Wong, who smiles as he sits beside his fellow practicum student Ina Liu Niu as they discuss their time at Calgary Counselling Centre (CCC) on exchange from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Both Ina and Anthony have enjoyed their experience.

When Anthony and Ina arrived at CCC on June 4th 2012, they were immediately struck by the professionalism and multi-faceted layers The Centre had to offer. Their 12 week practicum kicked off with an interview and from there it turned into an experience that will stay with the two forever.

“Helping people is something I’ve always wanted to do,” recalls Ina. “In the safe environment of Calgary Counselling Centre it was interesting and rewarding to practice what I had learnt in Hong Kong.”

Anthony agrees and adds “I was always analyzing my conversations with my friends and attempting to offer solutions. That’s why I got into the counselling field.”

The practicum at CCC is the first of two they must undertake as part of their master’s program – Social Science in Social Work. There were numerous overseas options, but both settled on CCC as they were struck by its professional demeanour. In particular through their Skype interview they had with CCC staff prior to making the trip over.

“All the layers to the Centre really impressed me,” recalls Ina, “IT, Administration, Communications, Counselling, and more. There’s such a sense of community here.”

We are a community that welcomes new comers without questions, and ensures that their learning experience is as fruitful and fulfilling as possible. Indeed, when Anthony and Ina faced struggles they had not foreseen, it was fellow counsellors and interns they turned to for support. The workrooms at CCC allow counsellors to work together and collaborate on approaches for unpredicted struggles.

With work, comes play. Ina and Anthony also took to the street of Calgary to see what The Heart of the New West has to offer. They took in events such as the Calgary Stampede, and tried new culinary options whenever possible. But still went for the familiar when home seemed far away.

“We eat in China Town as much as we can. The food there reminds us of home.” Ina notes.

There was also a trip through the prairies to Edmonton, and their sights are set on Banff or Kelowna before they embark on their journey home.

As an adventure of a lifetime through the counselling field comes to a close, the two reflect on what they have learnt from CCC and what they will carry with them as they pursue their dreams of becoming registered social workers in Hong Kong.

“Non-verbal expression is something I have learnt here and will definitely take with me,” Anthony states. “Body language is a huge part of counselling and something I will continue to work on.”

“As for me,” says Ina, “I have really internalized the agency values. The quotation marks in the logo really struck me. I really do believe the people here and the work done changes lives… one conversation at a time.”

Category: Blog, Education.