I write this entirely from what I am feeling. I know that people are different and adapt to situations differently.
Being an international student is not easy for me, and I can say that with all the world’s confidence. I remember the early days after completing my fourth form, which we call the final year of high school here in Kenya. I got my results after 24 days of difficult examinations. I did well and began to look for a university in Canada because it was my dream to study in Canada. I am not sure why; it was like a feeling of homesickness in a place I have never been before. I applied to three schools, and luckily, I got my first choice, Wilfrid Laurier. Everything was looking up. I was so excited to move to a new county….continent even, make some friends, create memories. If only it were that simple.
Being an international student is not easy. There is so much that is new to us and is difficult to understand. Being in first-year during the pandemic hasn’t made it more accessible. Online learning is the only university life we know. Daylight saving confused me. First, I ended up missing an hour of class once because I was unaware that the clock had changed. Sometimes I do not relate to what the others are saying in class. They mention places and events that I’ve never heard of because I’ve never been there.
It sometimes feels lonely, I’ll admit, but it makes me more eager to go to Canada. When the pandemic is over, and we are free to travel, I can’t wait to see Canada. I can’t wait to learn and experience a new culture, try different foods, like poutine which I keep hearing about and urged to try once I arrive and fiddleheads, which I thought had a funny name at first. To visit the places everyone keeps talking about to participate in student events to make friends and memories. Travel to Vancouver and see Granville Island and to capture the sites of Vancouver from the Vancouver lookout. I have always been a huge fan of The Weeknd (a Canadian artist) and would love to see him perform live. His recent album ‘After hours’ is one of my favourites and his tour has been postponed to next year. Maybe this is my chance to see him live if I get the chance.
Living in Kenya, I have known nothing but the tropical climate. When I go to Canada I will experience snowy weather for the very first time. Some of my friends who live there have told me that I will not like it at all. In fact, one of my friends sent me a compilation of people sliding on the icy floors of cold snowy Canada. He teased me saying that will be my fate when I arrive. Which made me slightly nervous but then again I’ve always wanted to try skiing so I have to get used to the snow sooner or later.
So, I’ll change the narrative that an international first-year student virtually experiencing university is dull, but being an international student must be great, for I will get to share it someday.