Studying abroad is one unique experience encompassing not only the time spent studying inside the premises but also the daily routine on the outside, the people, the culture and their lifestyles. It’s highly beneficial to be surrounded by different nationalities in that you get to learn how different people behave in different circumstances.
Culturally, the experience is rather dazzling as international students in Canada tend to face numerous surprises when it comes to common lifestyles. Needless to say, facing Canada might be peculiar in the beginning yet it results highly rewarding in the future. As an international student it’s normal to stumble upon difficulties the first few weeks upon arrival.
Living in Canada
For most of those who’ve never been before, Canada is commonly seen as some nature jewel- picturesque landscapes, dramatic mountains and scary forests. On the other side of the wilderness, one will notice that in fact Canada has lots of soul and lots of style; Canadians are bold, open and transparent towards its fellow expats.
Life in Canada is no different from other Western countries with some unique Canadian flavor explicitly brought by the locals. Lifestyle is however vastly acclimatized towards the environmental factors that are out of human control.
The sole purpose of the student orientation week is to help you settle slowly in and out of the Campus. It is important that you learn:
Important guidelines to maintaining your visa/study permit status
Classes that you will take in your first semester
English language testing procedures
The University’s rules and regulations
The layout of the University campus
Purchasing books and supplies
How to open a local bank account
Setting up your email and computer access
Inside a Canadian classroom
As a student you will be required to remain vigilant during your stay in the class; classes are interactive and you can be picked next in line to answer the lecturer’s questions. You will have to work hard, attend all of your classes on time and complete assignments on time. In order for you to develop your skills of critical thinking you have to be active during the lectures.
Course work and examinations
Canadian system of education has several evaluating systems integrated in order to be transparent. Just as some people do good on tests, other are better in oral exams so you will be able to choose what best suits your skills and help make an expert out of it in the future. By practicing presentation skills, team work skills and research skills, you become academically stronger and better prepared for the workplace.
It is important that you participate in every class activity if you are aiming for a higher grade whether it is group discussions, group work or brainstorming. Extracurricular activities are also highly valued, as it is a great way to practice the English/French language for the internationals.
Making new friends is one of the unique experiences of studying abroad, inside or outside the University premises. Remember not to be shy and engage in various social adventures that will remain engraved in your memories. By being friendly and polite you will not only find it easy to make Canadian friends but also, appear super interesting to other expats as well. Join in student activities and meetings, and bring a photo album from home to show new friends your home country and its customs. Always show gratitude and kindness by saying “please” and “thank you” as Canadians appreciate modesty the most.
As statistics state Canada seems to be quite peaceful and safe to lead a decent and healthy life. However, there are certain measurements every international student shall consider when moving to a new country, even if that is Canada.
First of all, in order for all your belongings to stay with you and safe same as your identity you ought to register with your Embassy/Consulate.
In an emergency
Call 911 immediately be it that you are witnessing a crime or have gotten on some trouble of your own;
Getting robbed or assaulted;
Have any trouble finding your way to the point of destination;
Around the community
Beware of strangers
Get out of a suspicious situation
Take the safest routes possible when walking
Try to frequent busy and crowded streets at night
Campuses are commonly supervised by private security including patrol cars therefore they are pretty safe at night. Also, you will find working telephone lines 24/7 throughout the surrounding area.
Some colleges and universities also offer an after-dark “walk home” service where qualified students will walk their peers home or to another location.
Alcohol and other Recreational substances
Drinking age is different in some regions yet it varies between 18-19 years old. If you are planning to drink when you go out, do arrange some sort of transportation where you are not behind the wheels. NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE. It’s reckless and also punished by the law.
It is not recommendable to accept drinks from everyone, especially from total strangers. You might get drugged along the way and not even notice.
‘‘Recreational’’ drugs such as cocaine, heroin, marijuana and ecstasy are illegal and involve stiff penalties or prosecution for possession. Do not offer to carry or transport such drugs for others.
If you really want to help people on the streets, do not give them money. Contribute your pennies to organization’s that deal with feeding, clothing and helping these homeless people sometimes against their will.