Cultivating a sense of community

One of the scariest parts of moving to a new place – at least for me – is the lack of friendships and support network when you arrive. While there are certainly unknowns for international students coming to a new country to study, the nature of attending a school means there are lots of opportunities to make friends with people who are similar in age, meaning some of the work has already been done for you. The trick is to then find folks that have things in common with you or who share your values. In my case, I was lucky to be coming in as part of a cohort of students pursuing a natural resources and environmental studies degree, so an appreciation for our environment was a given. Fortunately, the Canadians are as friendly as advertised (and my fellow international students have been lovely too).

Being so far away from loved ones can be a challenge, and the community that my university has provided me – ranging from friendly faces to lifelong friendships – is something I’ll always be grateful for. These people have both brightened my day-to-day life and taken me on memorable adventures throughout the province. Not only have they emotionally supported me through life’s typical problems, but they’ve banded together in the face of a labour strike at the university, grappled with a pandemic, and consoled one another after the death of one of our classmates. I could not have possibly imagined the sort of adversity I’d have to deal with over the course of my degree since I moved to BC, but these people have been an immense support and I’m a better person for knowing them.

I plan on graduating over the summer, so depending on how opportunities shake out these may well be my last few months living in British Columbia and Canada. I intend to make the most of my remaining time by appreciating the connections I’ve made to both people and places here. While the past year and a half hasn’t been the easiest, I remain thrilled that I decided to move to Prince George, attend UNBC, work with the people I do, and befriend all the folks that I have in Northern BC. Thank you, BC.