EDUCATION | student voice

3 Essential Tips I Learned When I First Came to Canada


When I came to Canada, I was only fourteen and knew nothing about living on my own. Before I decided to study abroad in Vancouver, I lived with my parents in Hong Kong. Since I am the only child at home, my parents always plan out everything for me. Although it was difficult to become an independent person, the challenges I had within that year became one of the most valuable experiences in my life.

Being cautious makes your life easier

One of the huge differences between Canadian and Chinese schools is the responsibility of a student. In Canada, students have to plan their schedule before school starts. They are also responsible to seek help from the counsellor if their schedules are incorrect. Unfortunately, I was not a cautious person and did not find any flaws until the second week of school. However, It was too late to change my schedule and so I had no choice but had to drop my favourite class, cooking. In order to finish the school curriculum, my counsellor recommended me to join the choir class, so I could take the classes I needed to graduate. Although I loved singing at home, it was tiring to attend practices every day after school. Especially, when my friends invited me to play ultimate on a sunny day. Even though it was hard but I had to turn them down. Although it is impossible to always live with a comfortable life, being cautious and having a planned schedule could prepare you for unexpected challenges.

Being considerate when sharing the same space with others

Staying with a home-stay is not hard but sharing a washroom with a stranger can lead to many conflicts. On my first day of arrival, Mrs. Lam, the wife in my home-stay family, introduced another international student to me and asked us to clean the washroom once a week by taking turns. In the beginning, we respected each other and had many joyful moments together. After a few months passed by, she started to ask me to do the cleaning for her with numerous excuses. I did not complain at first because she always offered to help me at school. However, I started to lose my temper when I realized that her attitudes had changed. When our friendships started to fill with arguments and disappointment, we lost the trust and were not able to fix our relationship anymore and it was the first time I lost a friend in Canada. From this experience, I learned that trust is the most important component and the process of how I approach would be the key to establishing good friendships when some problems occur. Not only did I learn about tolerating others’ imperfections, but also trying to find the best approach for a solution.

Being kind builds an intimate relationship with other people

I found that it was very hard to make friends with other students when I started going to school in Canada. As most of the students had known each other since grade eight, it was hard for me to approach them.  Although I was not able to communicate with them in fluent English, I got a fairly good grade in Mathematics. Whenever my classmates did not understand some of the concepts, I would explain those equations to them. As time flies, I had built friendships with other students and we started to have go out together. Thus, I always believe that kindness cannot only spread happiness to others, but also expand and strengthen our network with people. Nowadays, people do not often show care to people around them, though, it is important to be generous and helpful to others and keeps these assets as the most valuable treasure you have in life.

Living by yourself can be a challenging task when you lose the confidence to handle the obstacles in life. Sometimes, you might be regret of studying abroad because you have to live in a remote country. A place where people speak a different language and hold a different culture. Nonetheless, you will notice that everything will be getting better, when you have faith in yourself. Eventually, you will be glad to have this worthy experience.

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