Today, I have completed my Business Degree gracefully as an International Student. It is a moment of proud and happiness for my family and me. A moment that I have earned after Four years of hard work. Less than a month after completing my Degree, I landed myself dream job – Marketing Executive.
Being content with my life, I am more than happy to share my lessons as an International student.
Studying overseas is a learning experience not only inside but also outside the classroom. You are out of your comfort zone; you are in a different country learning another culture, language, customs and social values plus your course of study.
Canada is a beautifully diverse country, and I love it! If you are planning to study overseas, following simple life -hacks which will make you a Successful International Student:
Before You Arrive:
Before culture shock, weather shock might hit you. So when you are packing for your stay in Canada, make sure you check local weather trends such as lowest temperature in winter, the highest temperature in summer, rain, snowfall, etc. Bring Clothing considering all these weather conditions that you might not face in your hometown. Of course, you can buy from here as well, but as an international student when you are already paying high fees, you might find it difficult to fit everything in the budget. Check Custom Rules to see what you can bring when it comes to edible, liquids
This is very important to check updated custom list to be sure what to pack. If you are bringing your medicine, make sure you have a prescription. To avoid heavy duties,
One of the important things, make sure you pack your own luggage or be around when someone is helping you. Because one of the common question they ask you is if you packed yourself and you know what is in this bag. Be Aware of your luggage to avoid a hassle.
Plan Ahead for Accommodations and Travel:
Most of the times, official college website will provide you with both on-campus and off-campus accommodation options. Go through them, email and call to check availability. Use Google map to see the surrounding area and location of the rental place. If you are sharing accommodation with a roommate, make sure you read and sign a contract because if your agreed roommate changes his mind, you will have to carry the burden of rent on your shoulders.
First Day at Your University:
Do not worry if you feel nervous when you begin your studies in Canada. The first days at University are the most difficult for every international student. Be patient with yourself and others, and trust yourself that things will improve soon. Colleges and Universities provide a week of the orientation program, where you have international students ambassadors and mentors to show you around the campus. During international student orientation program, new students will learn about your class schedule, campus facilities such as library, cafe, registration office, study and work permit status, books shop, opening a local bank account and campus card/student card.
First Month in Canada:
The first weeks of the first semester are a busy time for every new international (and Canadian) student during which everyone is learning about the campus and classes while making new friends. You should take time to get to know your University:
- Attendance is very important especially attending first class is very important to keep your seat in the registered course.
- You will be given course outline in first class which will explain the schedule of mid-terms, final exams, projects, deadlines and grading criteria. This course outline will act as a roadmap for you, so make sure you read it thoroughly and keep it on while attending the class.
- Buy your books from the student bookstore
- Get your Student Identification card; it is your passport around the university/college campus
- Join Student Society or International Student Club to make friends
- Get familiar with campus, bus schedule and common places such as grocery stores, bank, shopping mall
- Learn about immigration rules about work and study permits. Make sure to set a reminder at least two months ahead for expiring immigration status to re-apply. It is illegal to stay in a country after your status expires.
- See when you can legally work. Right now, Canadian immigration allows international students to work up to 20 hours while studying full-time. Please note that immigration rules and conditions keep changing every year so make sure you keep yourself updated. Here is the link to Canadian CIC website.
- Find out local driving license office to see if you can drive on your existing driving license, or you need to go through a test to drive. Before you start driving, I would suggest you read about road rules, car insurance and driving license policy. Here is the link to British Columbia driving license website – ICBC
- Do not be scared to ask questions. People in Canada are very friendly and kind, so if you need missing piece of information, ask it.
Life in Canada:
Once you are settled into your university schedule, next step is to understand Canadian culture, customs, and lifestyle. I will mention few common concerns and issues that you might run into as an International student:
- Be Punctual. Whether the occasion is formal or a party, you are expected to arrive on time. There is no Indian Standard Time here, and things start on pre-decided time (not an hour late). And if you are running late, make sure to inform the host before hand.
- Dress for the occasion.
- Ask the person, how they would like to be addressed. Some people prefer last name and some first name, moreover some people will have short name so it is always good to ask ‘what do you prefer to be called’
- Keep your conversation in the language that everyone can understand. For example, In a group of 3, if you have two people who can understand Hindi but one person who can only understand English, speak English so that third person will not feel left out. If you tend to speak one or two sentences in your first language, make sure you translate it for the person who does not speak the same language.
- Be ready to face questions about your culture and country. When you are interacting in a diverse society, you act as a cultural ambassador to your place. So, people will be curious to know about your culture and hometown.
- Avoid asking personal questions such as salary, relationships, age, and religious faith until you are well acquainted with people.
- Do not joke or make insulting remarks about people’s race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, skin color, and stereotypes. Canadians are very proud of their multi-cultural society and very humble people.
- “Please” and “thank you,” are important Canadian customs. These two words play an important role in professional and social life in Canada.
- My final piece of advice is to be respectful in conversation and behavior. It will enhance your professional and personal network
As an International student, you will face hurdles like homesickness, culture shock and language barrier, be patient and give yourself time to learn new things. Remember, you are braver than all these mini obstacles. Take this change as an opportunity to learn new things and explore new possibilities. Enjoy your life as an International Student, and do not get distracted from your main purpose is to complete your Study. Focus on your study and keep the grades to maintain your immigration status.
Dear International Student, have a Successful and Happy Life.