Learn from an exceptional doctor
After my studies of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), I began to work in a large hospital in my native city. I was very fortunate because the head of my department was a doctor who enjoyed great local renown thanks to his expertise.
This doctor did not select just anybody for training as a future doctor. He chose me because he had noticed my personal and professional qualities.
I learned much from this doctor in terms of treating patients: including observation, interprettation of pulse palpitation, etc. The head doctor gave his opinion as to the treatment to be followed, according to both TCM and Western medicine. Prescriptions in TCM consist of a combination of herbs in a specific dosage. I transcribed the names of herbs and determined the dosage for each one.
Working two half days per week in external consultation with the head doctor over five years, I learned much more than could be learned in university, thanks to this exceptional doctor.
I immigrated to Canada in 2001. When I arrived in Montreal , I did not speak French at all, but I knew that passing a mandatory language examination was necessary in order to practice acupuncture in Quebec.
I started to study French at Cégep André-Laurendeau in a French course organized by the Ministère de l'Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec. Having no basic knowledge of the French language at the beginning, I found that this course was very difficult. In addition, my mother died during this period which upset me very much. Thereafter, I decided to continue my French studies at UQAM and in May 2005, I obtained a Certificate in written French for non French-speaking people.
Understanding the importance of deepening my command of French, I took part in two French immersion trips. The first was a five-week stay in La Pocatière where I studied the language. Later on, I studied at the University of Saskatchewan and I lived in a French-speaking family for five weeks. At the end of this program, I was awarded a prize: “Recognition of positive attitude towards the training of the French language and of assistance given to peers during the entire French immersion program in the spring 2005”. This was the first award that I won in Canada and my University of Saskachewan professor told me that I had been a source of inspiration for all the students.
Finally, I passed all the examinations given by Office de la langue française du Québec.
My first presentation of TCM in Quebec
In the autumn of 2004, a professor at the languages School of Université du Québec à Montréal invited me as a lecturer to present Traditional Chinese Medicine in the course Introduction to the language and the culture of China. It was a great challenge for me.
When I studied Traditional Chinese Medicine in China, I learned all the terminology in Chinese. As my second language was Japanese, I did not have any medical vocabulary in English. So, it was very difficult for me to talk about Traditional Chinese Medicine in French, which is closer to English in comparing with Chinese.
I started to acquire medical vocabulary by reading a book on acupuncture and various medical texts in French. At the same time, I prepared the text for my presentation. My French professor at Collège André-Laurendeau helped me greatly in revising my texts.
In November 2004, I gave a conference in French on Chinese Traditional Medicine. After my presentation, my French professor told the students how proud she was of me, since I had not been able to say even one complete sentence when I started to study French at UQAM.
Internship in Clinic of Collège de Rosemont
After having passed the examinations of Office de la langue française du Québec, I began an internship course in acupuncture in the Clinic of Collège de Rosemont. This internship course culminated in my being accredited to practice acupuncture in Quebec.
The first thing that I observed was that people here were more sensitive than in China, so it is necessary that the sensation be easily tolerated when the needles are employed.
Then, I found that people here often seek an alternative approach for health care, with acupuncture sometimes selected due to its effectiveness.
The internship course instilled further confidence in me. With my knowledge and experiences in Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, I know that I can treat my patients well.
A model for new immigrants
When I studied French at UQAM, my professors helped me a lot and they were proud of me.
It is very difficult for Chinese to learn French and, as I do not know English, it was even more challenging for me. Nonetheless, my professors always encouraged and helped me in multiple ways.
To improve my French and to help people, I enrolled as a volunteer in the UQAM listening center. I also worked as a volunteer at Saint-Luc Hospital, helping senior citizens. When I reached the advanced level, the UQAM Languages School engaged me as monitor to help new students. Although it was often quite difficult, I learned an enormous amount by serving people.
During my studies of French, I submitted my application to the Ordre des acupuncteurs du Québec. To ensure full understanding while corresponding with the Order, I shared the letters I received with Mrs Gladys Benudiz, director of the UQAM Languages School. She wrote a reference letter to the Ordre des acupuncteurs du Québec, presenting me as "a model of success in the eyes of new immigrants".
I know that I am not the only new immigrant who has succeeded, but I am proud of the way I struggled courageously for my new life in Quebec.