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Advice for Moving Across the World Alone

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

In December 2021, I moved from Southeast Asia to Canada alone. Not only was this the first time I was travelling to Canada, it was also the first time I travelled by myself. The ordeal was emotional, stressful, and a whole bunch of other things which I won’t get into now, but I did learn some tips that are useful for students who are also planning to make the big move.

Check for Airline Perks Before Flying

For some airlines, you can apply for additional privileges as a student. For example, I managed to apply for Qatar’s student club which allowed me to checkin 3 luggage bags with an additional 10kg for each. The extra luggage and weight lifted a ton of weight off my shoulder when I was packing as I didn’t have to worry about my winter clothes causing my luggage to be overweight. Besides perks for students, some airlines also have points and rewards systems where you can collect points and use them in other stores. From the ones I’ve seen, all these memberships are free to apply for, so there’s no harm in doing so.

Reconfirm Accommodation Bookings Before Arrival

I arrived in Canada about a week before I could move into the dorms, so I had to stay in an Airbnb until the dorms opened. If I didn’t recheck my booking a few days before my flight, I wouldn’t have realised that the host I booked from went MIA and the place was completely empty and deserted. When I first booked the Airbnb, the host had stunning reviews and the place was great for its price. When I checked the listing again, the most recent reviews stated that the host had become uncontactable and when they arrived at the house the place was on sale! So, definitely recheck your accommodation bookings before you take off to avoid any additional stress.

Start Packing Ahead of Time

As I was leaving about two weeks after my last finals, I knew that I wouldn’t have enough time to pack, visit my loved ones, and buy emergency things. That’s why I started packing about a month and a half before my flight, and that was probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It gave me plenty of time to organise what I wanted to bring and what I needed to buy without having to rush and leave a few things out.  I forgot some important things at home, but that was more because I was too nervous on the day I was flying than because I didn’t have enough time. Packing ahead of time was great for me since I ended up unpacking and repacking my luggage because I was too sentimental about things.

Don’t Be Shy to Reach Out for Assistance

As someone who’s socially anxious, I would rather struggle alone than ask for help. However, I had to throw that mentality out the window. For one thing, it was ridiculously difficult for me to lift and drag all my luggage on my own. I had to ask the people around me or a flight attendant for help to lift my carry-on luggage into the cabin because I couldn’t do it on my own. Throughout that trip, I slowly realised that asking for help made it easier on me and could be more convenient for others too.

 Locals Can Be Helpful and Friendly

When you first arrive, it’s glaringly obvious to locals that you’re out of place no matter how hard you try. While it’s safer to try and blend in with everyone else, the unfamiliar surroundings  make it nearly impossible to do so. If you’re just not sure about where you are or how to use the public transportation system, just ask a local and 9 out of 10 times they’re willing to help you. Whenever I asked someone to direct me to a bus station or store, people were nice enough to help and some of them even escorted me there. Overall, people are generally friendly.

Here are some of the things I learned throughout this moving process. Since arriving in Canada, I’ve learned even more things and have seen a lot of new sights that I never saw back home. I’ve still got a lot more to see and experience, and I can’t wait :)

Daphne Chen

UWindsor '23

Daphne is majoring in International Relations and Development Studies with an Economics minor in UWindsor. Her hobbies include painting, reading, writing, and learning about niche topics among other things. She hopes to one day be able to make a small difference in this world, but she doesn’t know when, what, and how.
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