Life as an International Student
Written by Chrisele Pedir Denum
There are currently thousands of international students who travel around the world, open-minded and ready to learn a myriad of new things in a foreign country. There are about 59,000 international students here in British Columbia, Canada and I am lucky enough to be one of them. I vividly remember, it was the 5th of September 2018, the exact date when I first set foot in BC. I know that this new phase of my life meant longing for my family, friends, homeland and culture that I was used to. The trade-off though will be unforgettable experiences of new adventures, while learning and being independent at the same time. Being an international students has its sacrifices that will eventually harbor numerous benefits.
As an international student, getting accustomed to life in Canada is quite challenging. Before I even came to the country, I knew that there is a vast difference between the weather. Coming from a tropical country, we more or less have two seasons, wet or dry, and the temperature hovered around 25°C to 40°C. We never had to put on a jacket or layers of clothing before stepping out of the house. Here there are four seasons along with its drastic changes in temperature and types of clothing!
I also had to adjust to the cultural diversity of Canada. This is one of the few countries where different races, languages, customs and religion work in harmony. This was a big change for me as I saw my own people my whole life. Experiencing this change goes hand in hand with learning the quirks of the different cultures.
Perhaps most challenging for me being an international student is living independently for the first time. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone! I was used to having my mom and my sisters helping me with homework, chores and life in general. For the longest time, I couldn’t even wake up without hearing my Mom’s yelling. Now, I have to do many things by myself including making banking decisions, figuring out the transit system, shopping for groceries and waking up on time.
Along with the challenges and sacrifices of a foreign student are benefits. Studying in Canada has opened my eyes to many enticing ideas, things, sceneries and cultures. Aside from the high-quality education and opportunities to figure out my career, I am able to explore and enjoy the beauty of Canada. I have seen the snow-capped mountains and vast green landscapes while being immersed and fascinated by the multicultural foods, customs, traditions and the social atmosphere.
Moreover, setting foot in Canada paved the way for newfound interests that I only ever dreamed of before. Take for example the advantages of the climate, by having winter, I learned to ski and watch ice hockey and curling. I also enjoy the outdoors more because the temperature is not as hot. I have also made new friends with different multicultural backgrounds.
For me, being an international student in Canada has been wonderful. So far the advantages have outweighed my sacrifices. I look forward to further opportunities for personal growth and development that this kind of life has to offer.