End of summer, new beginnings… by Leat Ahrony
It’s that time of year where we are saying goodbye to the long summer days and getting rain and snow gears out from our closet. Luckily where I am living in Victoria BC, sunshine is still making its way through my windows. There are the occasional raining and windy days which is making the grasses a little greener, and although I’m not a huge fan of the rain, it does motivate me more to do my class readings indoors. This is my final term studying in Beautiful British Columbia, and it’s amazing how fast time has flown. I know my parents and I paid a lot for my international education, but I have definitely made it worth the experience. Most people wonder what steps I plan to take next, and I honestly haven’t made my decision yet. What I can say though is: No Matter where I go, this 4.5 year international experience has expanded my knowledge, and enriched my understanding of other cultures. There is so much I can talk about, but I’ve narrowed it down to a few that I hope to pass on to current and future BC international students:
- Break out of your comfort bubble; take risks, and make mistakes
It’s never comfortable to be in a new place, with a foreign environment and a brand new school system. However, I made the decision when I was 18 to travel alone abroad, and experience a new world. I broke out of my shell. I could have stayed home, gone to school in Taiwan, but I chose not to. I got on a plane and never looked back. Was it a risk? Yes, but one that I would encourage more students to take. One thing I want to emphasize is don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I’ve made quite a few since I landed in Canada (2011), but I learned from each one. For example, when I accepted a Co-op job that I didn’t think I would enjoy, I did not earn a completed co-op mark. I should have listened to my gut feeling.
- Be yourself & follow your heart
For the first two years I was in Canada, I was quiet, timid, sometimes shy, and observed a lot on how Canadians behave. I tried so hard to ‘fit in’ until one day I woke up and realized I should be myself, and follow my heart. Follow what that gut feeling and voice tells you. It’s that little voice that you sometimes want to suppress, but I encourage every international student to not be afraid to make local friends whilst being who you are, because that’s what really makes you stand out from the crowd. People ask me if I see myself staying in Canada forever, and I’ll be honest. Personally, my soul and heart is calling to explore another place, but I would definitely say my journey in Canada has helped me tremendously on the path of self-discover that I will only continue to grow and expand. The world is filled with opportunities, and when a door opens for you, I encourage all students to go for it and don’t look back!