Moving to a new place, especially a culturally diverse and vibrant one like British Columbia, is both exhilarating and challenging. As an international student who had never left Asia, I quickly realized the importance of both preparation and support upon arrival. These factors played a pivotal role in shaping my initial experience and overall integration into a new environment.
Before leaving for BC, I was grateful for the amount of helpful information available online. This, along with Adler University’s orientation program, was crucial in ensuring my smooth transition to Canada. The orientation program covered essential topics such as local Indigenous culture, academic expectations, international student visas, and social justice. This groundwork was instrumental for a positive start to my time in BC.
My school also offered a Student Ambassador Program, providing new students an opportunity to be mentored by senior students with common interests or academic backgrounds. This program was particularly helpful as it connected us with mentors who had similar experiences and could provide practical advice.
Despite the available support, I still experienced some knowledge gaps. The orientation, while comprehensive, lacked specifics on local customs and traditions. For example, understanding coin values and the tipping culture in Canada was challenging for me. Including such details of daily life in Canada would help international students adapt more smoothly. Reflecting on my experience, I wish I had known earlier about the various support opportunities and local student organizations available to me. These resources would have eased my initial stress and facilitated community involvement.
To improve the future students’ experiences, I would suggest post-secondary institutions like Adler enrich orientation with specific information about local practices, shopping, and dining options. Often, what locals consider common knowledge is unfamiliar to international students.
In conclusion, while I was well-prepared upon arrival in BC, there is room for improvement. More information and refinement of existing support services could make the transition for incoming students smoother and less daunting.