As an international student navigating the vibrant academic landscape of Vancouver, British Columbia, my journey has been marked not only by the pursuit of knowledge but also by the effort to maintain mental well-being. The whirlwind of academic stress, coupled with the challenges of balancing school, work, and my personal life, has led me on a quest to discover effective strategies for sustaining my mental health.
One of my strategies is regular exercise. Nature walks and weekend hikes have become essential components of my routine. They provide a therapeutic escape and a chance to clear my mind. Vancouver’s breathtaking natural surroundings have become my refuge amidst the demands of academia. I’ve found solace in exploring the city’s beautiful views. One of my favourite spots is English Bay as it reminds me of my hometown.
Establishing a support system and building community connections is also important. Engaging with the student community and spending time with friends has allowed me to forge meaningful connections. Sharing experiences with peers who understand the challenges of studying abroad, provides emotional support and enhances a sense of belonging, especially when we speak in our native language.
Acknowledging the importance of mental health, I utilized counselling services offered by my university’s insurance. The culturally sensitive counsellors provided a safe space to discuss my struggles. Together, we developed coping strategies tailored to my needs, supporting me in my academic journey.
As an international student, study has been my primary focus, but I’ve learned that balance and taking care of my wellness is equally important. Embracing the city’s natural beauty, building a support network, and seeking professional help have become the pillars supporting my mental health. By integrating these practices, I’ve discovered a more sustainable path to academic success and well-being in this multicultural and dynamic city.