Adjusting to new student life in Canada
Being a modern, progressive, open and tolerant multi-cultural country, Canada has become one of the favourite study abroad destinations for Indian students. It has two official languages – English and French. This gives students an opportunity to learn a foreign language as well.
Life in Canada is similar to most of the western countries. However, like every country, it has some aspects that are unique to it. Canada is known for its natural beauty and of course the world famous Niagara Falls. Canadians are known to be friendly, polite and well-educated; with a high standard of living.
The second largest country in the world has a lot to offer the international students studying there. Here are a few things that you’ll come across and also experience while living in Canada for your education.
Culture shock in Canada
This is something that every individual goes through while moving into a new country. Some students might get overwhelmed by the differences in the Canadian and the Indian culture, but eventually you get used to living in a new country. Take your time in getting adjust to life in Canada with the new culture and country.
There are a few ways through which you can reduce the effects of culture shock.
- It is always good to research about the Canadian culture beforehand so that you wouldn’t be surprised with the differences in the new country.
- Pack some of your family and friends’ photographs, so that it’ll comfort you when you feel homesick.
- Get involved in the various activities conducted by your school.
Pre-departure checklist for students
Before you move to Canada, it is essential that you have a pre-departure checklist handy. It is necessary to arrange various things before your fly; like finalizing accommodation, buy insurance, make sure that all your Indian bank accounts can be operated by someone else in your absence in case of an emergency, arrange for someone to come pick you up from the airport in Canada, etc.
Student accommodation in Canada
You can find accommodation at their university/college or look for a private accommodation near your institution. Though expensive the student dorms have special meal plans and also offer other facilities like cleaning, laundry, 24 hours Wi-Fi, etc. The cost of accommodation varies from city to city. It could be anywhere between C$300 to C$1500 per month depending upon the type of location and accommodation you choose.
Climate & clothing in Canada
Unlike the three seasons in India, Canada has four distinct seasons: spring (March-May), summer (June-August), fall (September-October) and winter (November-February). Winters can get pretty cold with temperatures falling to more than -15 degrees Celsius, which can be difficult to adjust for Indian students when they first arrive in the country. Make sure to carry enough warm clothes and also invest in good winter jackets after reaching there. Wearing sunglasses and sunscreen can help you during the clear days.
Working part time in Canada
As students you are allowed to work 20 hours a week in Canada. During semester breaks when you have holidays, you can work full time. However, before you take up any job, make sure to check your visa and immigration documents whether you have permission to work. Without one, it would be illegal to work in Canada, and can also lead to deportation.
Scholarships for international students
There are many scholarships offered by Canadian universities to international students. When you apply for a course at a Canadian university, make it a point to ask your consultant/agent (if you’re applying through one) or the university representative, if any scholarship is available for your chosen course. Usually colleges don’t have many scholarships as their tuitions fee is relatively low, but there could be scholarships available for universities and for research.
Entertainment and media
Like every metropolitan area in the world, Canada too has a lot to offer to suit every person’s tastes. You will find large and modern cinema theatres. Due to the close proximity with USA, Canada receives the movies immediately after their release dates. Canada also has a lot to offer for the adventure lovers; skiing and hiking are popular sports in Canada.
Health and travel insurance
Insurance is very important when you study in a foreign country. It takes care of any medical expenses you’ll incur during your stay in Canada. Usually health insurance would be included in your tuition fees so you wouldn’t need to buy a separate health insurance. What you’ll need to buy is travel insurance. It covers your loss in case you lose any of your bags or electronic items like laptop, phone, camera, etc. while traveling.