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11 Struggles Only Out-Of-Province Students Understand

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Western chapter.

Even though the majority of Western’s students are from the province of Ontario, there is a small sliver of us who are out-of-province. As someone from Vancouver, British Columbia, I have had my fair share of struggles since I’ve moved to London, Ontario three years ago. Whether you are from British Columbia or Prince Edward Island, here are 11 experiences that only out-of-province/out-of-territory students will understand. 

1) The Ontario cities

In my first year at Western, I would get so confused and disoriented when people would tell me where they were from. Why, you ask? Because I had no idea where the places they were talking about were. While I had visited Ottawa and Toronto when I was younger, I didn’t know any other cities so I often felt embarrassed. Whether it was Barrie, Richmond Hill or Brampton, I always remember asking, “How far is that from Toronto?” All the cities are different to Ontarians, but to someone who’s out-of-province and who isn’t familiar with these cities, all we want to know is where they are in relation to Toronto. 

2) The lingo 

Sometimes it feels like Toronto kids have their own language. When I first moved here, I lived on a floor with a lot of students from Missausaga who would often casually drop words like “the 6ix,” “GTA,” “reach,” “scope me” and “ting.” While everyone was laughing and carrying on, I often felt confused and didn’t understand what the heck they were talking about. Picking up their lingo was a bit of a learning curve for me, not going to lie. 

3) The shops & restaurants

While some places like Tim Hortons can be found across the country, other shops and restaurants are unique to one province or just a handful of provinces. For me, it was weird seeing Jack Astor’s restaurants and Metro grocery stores everywhere rather than seeing London Drugs (a drug store similar to Shoppers), Safeway (a grocery store) or White Spot (a B.C. restaurant chain) anywhere in London. I remember finding it weird and sort of sad that I couldn’t grab a legendary burger at White Spot anymore, or grab the best frickin’ chicken wings from Safeway.

4) The homesickness

Homesickness is one thing all students can relate to, but I feel like out-of-province and international students experience it a lot more. Rather than being able to hop on a Greyhound or Via Rail, out-of-province students sadly can’t go home to their families every other weekend. Homesickness is definitely one of the worst struggles, and sadly only phone calls home and lots of pictures can help you get through and cope with your feelings. 

5) Not meeting that many out-of-province students 

As there are not that many out-of-province students at Western, it is pretty hard to meet someone who’s out-of-province, or better yet, someone who’s from the same province as you. Since coming here three years ago, I’ve met a few students from Alberta and B.C. and maybe one or two from the Maritimes, but unless you are really hunting for them, it’s hard to meet people who are going through the same things as you. However, when you do meet someone from your province or another province, it is so exciting! Usually if I’m at a club meeting or a party and meet someone from Alberta or Prince Edward Island, we’ll have a twenty minute conversation about things like the weather, going home for the holidays, the highs and lows of living in London, the out-of-province student association (a Western association for out-of-province students) and so much more.

6) The weekends and reading weeks 

As previously mentioned, many out-of-province students feel lonely on the weekends. And while you probably have international and out-of-province friends you can hang out with, it’s still easy to miss your Ontario-born friends. It’s even worse during reading week because it’s a whole week of being in London all alone. When your Ontario friends go back to their hometown, sometimes it can feel like you’ve been abandoned. When that happens, my advice is to go explore London or take up a new hobby to help pass those lonely days away.  

7) The costs

Ooof, being an out-of-province student is pricey. Now while out-of-province students pay the same tuition as Ontario students, when you add in housing, flights, transportation to and from the airport and so much more, being an out-of-province student isn’t cheap.  

8) Moving your things back and forth 

When it comes to packing, I often bring books, journals, games and my camera with me back and forth between Vancouver and London. Because of this, there have been so many times where my bag has been overweight at the airport check-in. Also, in the last three years I have had to move three times, and let me tell you, it is hard. While going from residence to a house from first to second year is ideal, I know many out-of-province students who were sophs like me or who lived in upper-year residence, and moving and storing your stuff is logistical hell. Some people will put their things in storage or leave it all at a friend’s house, but no matter what you decide, it is always so stressful and complicated. 

9) The little things

Of course everybody is different, but I find that there are little things you miss and appreciate all the more when you leave home for school. For me, when I’’m in London, aside from missing my mom and my friends, I miss the ocean and the food (i.e. a sushi place a few blocks away, a pizza parlour across from me, etc.) No matter if you’re from the west coast or the east coast, I’m sure there are little things that you love even more after coming to Western. 

10) Not connecting with old friends anymore  

After coming to Western, I as well as many other out-of-province students have grown so much. We have become stronger, more resilient and more independent. With that, when I go home for the summer, it is really hard to hang out with my old high school friends because while I’m living in my own house in a new city halfway across the country, they are still living at home with their parents in the same city, working at the same places and hanging out with the same people. While we are drifting apart and our friendships may not last forever, I have come to terms with it as I’ve met so many good people since I’ve been at Western.

11) Feelings of uncertainty about your home 

While some people won’t agree with me, I often find that I become sad, confused and restless when I go home to Vancouver during breaks. I feel like I’m having an identity crisis because on the one hand, I’ve created this whole life and home in London, but on the other hand, I also have my friends and family and childhood memories in Vancouver as well. If you ever feel this way, just remember that home isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind that is filled with the people you love.

These are 11 of the struggles out-of-province students deal with. While being an out-of-province student can be hard sometimes, it allows you to grow and become so much stronger. Sure, it’s been hard, but if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

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Anika is the President of Her Campus Western. She is a fourth-year student studying media and creative writing at Western University and would love to work as an advertising copywriter after graduation. When she's not doing Her Campus things, you can find her baking, watching movies and shows, playing video games, and hanging out with friends.
This is the contributor account for Her Campus Western.