“When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” As an international student, following this quote from Saint Augustine it has helped me a lot. The wisdom behind this quote helped me to get a really nice experience in Canada and loving this country as it were my own country which is Venezuela. In fact, If I had to advice new comers, I would tell them, try to adapt to the new country that you will emigrate and keep your essence because at the end of the day is what it makes you unique. Along this article I would give you 6 advice, through my experience, as an international student from the Marketing Management program from PACE at the University of Winnipeg, in order to avoid a culture shock and also I will share the experiences from another international students.
- Try to enjoy your Canadian experience with an open-mind. Personally, when I moved to Canada a year and a half ago I decided to enjoy the Canadian experience in 100%. Therefore, I moved to a home stay with a Canadian family who adopted me as another member of the family; I learned English and I am still learning French; I tried new food like Poutine and Sugar Pie; I traveled around Quebec, British Columbia and my next trip is to Toronto; I also made friends from all over the world because that is the magic from Canada, is a country where you can find a wide variety of nationalities in just one place.
- Don’t make the language stop you from meeting new people. In fact, meeting people from another countries make you grow. Personally, I feel that Canada made me a better person because of the fact of having shared with people from different cultures, it made me see the world with another perspective. In this sense, I know that the humor change from one language to another and sometimes we feel afraid of not expressing properly in a foreign language, but there is no other way to be fluent on it than speaking. If sometimes you feel silly talking in another language, imagine how I feel, I am a journalist and Spanish is my working tool, but you know, I understood that shame is just in our minds and it didn’t stop me from making new friends.
- Hang out with locals. It is a good opportunity to know the culture of the country. They can give you excellent suggestions about where to go, where not and also tell you about the culture. Canadians are super nice and friendly, so this is an easy task.
- Learn about Canadian history. Learning about history will lead you to two amazing benefits: first you will get more knowledge and second you will understand better Canadian culture. Canada has a really interesting history, so you will not waste time, and remember knowledge doesn’t hurt. In order to complete this task and make it enjoyable you can visit The Manitoba Museum or the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Both are awesome!
- Get involve in culture activities. In Winnipeg you can attend to many interesting festivals like Festival du Voyageur, Jazz Winnipeg Festival, Fringe Theater Festival and Folklorama. Also you can enjoy the next PACE Cultural Evening in January 2017 or join the UWSA student groups of the University of Winnipeg and organize events for the university. These activities are a good opportunity to have fun and meeting new people.
- Keep in contact with your family and old friends. Your love ones are the fuel that help you to achieve your goals and they support you when you feel homesick. In your new life is really important making new friends, but never forget where you came from.
International students share their experiences
Maryana Ostroverkha (Ukraine –Student of Business Administration at University of Winnipeg)
“What I like about Canada is that I have made friends from different countries, tried new food and now I see life with another view. For example, before coming to Canada I didn’t know about Asian culture at all, so when I came here I realized that they are different and at the same time similar. They have a more calm temper and when you get closer, you get amazed of how pure and sincere they are. Therefore I learned that we cannot judge people from the first sight and we need to get to know them first. I also made some changes to adapt to a Canadian culture. The main one is that I realized how important is to understand and accept people as the way they are.”
Ana Martins (Venezuela- Student of English as a second language at University of Winnipeg)
“Here I tried for the first time Indian food and even though is a bit spicy for me, I loved the Somosas. I also really liked have experienced the four seasons because in Venezuela we just know summer. I visited Toronto and I love it because is so cosmopolitan, there is always something going on. I went the last Halloween and despite it was raining, people remained on the streets and that speaks about how Canadians enjoy life no matter why. I believe that part of adapting to this country is thinking carefully before saying something because since there are people from all over the world what for my culture is not offensive maybe for another one it is. I think as well that the fact of having friends from many countries it made me more fluent in English because you don’t have another way to communicate with them than English.”
Junhyeok Lee (Korea- Student of University of Manitoba)
“What I like about Canada is diversity. So, I like the fact that I can learn about several cultures.”
Sabine Aziaka (Togo- Student of University of Winnipeg)
“I have lived in Togo, Senegal, Italy and Canada, so adapting to this country it wasn’t hard for me. From Canadian cuisine I have tried Poutine. Here, I made friends from different countries and that is cool. I would suggest International students to don’t be afraid of speaking English because speaking another language makes you an open-mind person, it makes you different from the mass, it makes your vocabulary richer, and so on. What I like about Canada is the multiculturalism and the peace. I think Canada is a peaceful place to live. I like Canadians, the way they think. I think Canadians are polite and open-mind.”
Simba Meng (China- Student of University of Winnipeg)
“What I like about Canada is that I have learned a lot about what is going on in other countries. Here, I became more optimistic. I adapt easily to changes, so it hasn’t been difficult for me living in Canada. The only barrier for me, it has been the language and even though is a barrier I like that my friends accept me how I am and they don’t dislike me because my broken English.”
Written by, Maria Grecia Sanchez, PACE Marketing Management student at the University of Winnipeg. Venezuelan journalist. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org