Skip to main content

Things I learned about Canada as an International student

December 23, 2019

By Chisom Alaoma

Transitioning to Canada is not easy. It is going to be hard, it is going to be different, and it is going to be a roller coaster of emotions. When I came here, I got a lot of advice from random people. They told me to “take one step at a time,” and I will make it. They were lying! In all my years in university, it has never been one step at a time; it is everything all at once. Here’s what I’ve learned in my time in Canada:

Canada is very multicultural

Canada is a wonderful country with different cultural practices, music, food, religion, language, and so much more. The two official languages in the country are French and English. The best thing I think people forget to add about Canada is that it is very multicultural. In other words, it’s not just white people. One other thing I love about this country is that one way or another, you are sure to meet people from your country, making Canada feel more like home than a foreign place.

Canada is not a part of the United States

Before coming to the country, I knew some people who genuinely believed that Canada was in the United States. Canada is a country of its own, and they have their own identity.

Canadian mannerisms are different from other English speaking countries

Because I am from an English speaking country, I thought it would be the same or somewhat the same, but it was completely different. The way people spoke and the way they approached other people was extremely different from my country. So expect a lot of chill greetings and a lot of eye contact.

It’s not hard to find someone with the same background as you

Another misconception is that it is a homogenous society and that couldn’t be more wrong. Canada is very diverse, and I learned that on my first day at the university when I was paired with a person from my home country who practiced the same religion and the same “spot-on” background.

At the end of the day, there is no manual for surviving university as an International student. Everyone has a different story, and the way you choose to write it all depends on you. For me, university in Canada was one of my defining moments - it has helped me understand myself better and gain an understanding of the people around me.