Five Tips for Canadian Student Life
By Matthew Butler
Coming to Canada to study, live, and work can be an exciting experience for an international student. Canadian culture is diverse, friendly, and inclusive, which helps create a positive atmosphere to learn and build relationships.
Many students from abroad may know of Canada by reputation only. Maybe they have heard about our peaceful nature, multicultural population, or our love of ice hockey. Besides these national characteristics, Canada also has a unique student life experience.
Most Canadian students will attend post-secondary school and receive an education. An increasing number of international students will join alongside them to share in the experience. Having a growing and more balanced dynamic between Canadian and international students is a great way to grow a rich and cross-cultural student life experience.
Here are some tips to help guide your experience:
1. Be engaged and active in as many extracurricular activities as you can. Use these opportunities to pick up on as many different practices and customs as you can.
2. Engage in cultural exchange, not cultural shock. Many international students coming to Canada may be experiencing a different environment, way of life, or climate for the very first time. Bring your heritage and culture with you so you can share with others.
3. Most schools in Canada have a wide array of international and cultural student clubs and organizations. If you are feeling homesick, or that you are missing some of the traditions of your country, get involved with certain students groups that may have something in common with you.
4. Canada is a bilingual country, using both English and French as the two national languages. Sometimes this can be overwhelming for either international students who may not speak these languages well, or students who are more comfortable speaking in their own dialect. Try to brush up on one of these languages before arriving, and make use of engaging with other students to learn more. Being able to use the language can be essential for getting the most of Canadian student life.
5. Canada has some of the biggest schools in the world, but also has smaller campuses with smaller student populations. Be aware of the location, size, and region where your school resides. Part of the beauty of Canada is you can have the booming feel of a cityscape school or the calming and more personal experience of a smaller college. Pick a school that reflects your interests and recognize it will have an effect on your student life experience.