It was Dominion Day's eve.
What do you know about Canada? I asked some students. One student, who was the most articulate of the group, admitted he knew nothing. So you never heard of the place till now? I jokingly asked the student. The others said things about Canada having kangaroos and it being the largest country in the world.
Famous Canadians? The group couldn't think of any. I had to remind them of Norman Bethune (oh yes, that guy, they said, after I explained who he was.), Justin Bieber and Celine Dion (students in the past when asked this question mentioned these two).
Who's the Canadian leader? No one knew. Showing them a picture of the PM with Xi Jing Ping, they remarked how young Justin Trudeau was.
What do Canadians like to do? Most said they didn't know. One Student said ski and drink beer. The second half of that answer was a result of my giving the student leading questions. One other student said Canadians liked ice ball, which is the literal translation of the Mandarin word for Ice Hockey. In all my years of querying students about their knowledge of Canada, this was the first time a student mentioned hockey.
What are Canadians like? Most couldn't say. One student did say awesome. (But one learns to discount compliments from Chinese. ) No one said polite or boring. (One student did call me boring the day before but they should have said bored. Boredom is something one must fight when spending time with the locals.)
Finally, one word to describe Canada? Beautiful and cold. That much they knew.
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org