The power of community

The word “community” means people who work together and engage with each other for the common good. Active involvement in community life was always an integral part of my life. It shaped who I am today. At a very young age, I learned to be involved in my community, take action and collaborate with people to get things done.

There were always many life transitions, from moving to cities and changing schools to going abroad and studying in a new country. I learned that understanding and incorporating new values, perspectives, and ways of living come quickly through active community engagement.

In 2020, I came to Canada from Kazakhstan. It was not easy. I was feeling isolated: a new language, different culture and a global pandemic. But I wanted to belong, to be part of this community just like when I was in Kazakhstan. So, I realized that if I want to adapt to a new environment and incorporate its values, I need to start interacting with the community.

Therefore, I decided to live on campus. It allowed me to connect with local people from many different cities in British Columbia and outside. Student Housing at BCIT is well known for its solid sense of community. My roommates became my friends. These people became the first community that helped me to sense Canadian culture.

Reflecting on my experience, being a student helped a lot. The student community is unique because it allows you to meet with people who have the same goals, concerns, and interests as you. Especially with a diverse student body, there is always a chance to learn and grow. Therefore, I got a job on campus and became part of the Student Association, which helped to expand my social connections, raised cultural knowledge, and improved my leadership skills. This community engagement created a fulfilling and impactful experience that significantly influenced my way of seeing life.

Community engagement is very high in Canada. Canadians always look for ways of improving life and solving problems. They genuinely care for the beautiful environment they live in. The realization that the community’s well-being depends on each member gave me an understanding that respect, kindness and sharing are the central values in Canadian culture. Only work and close interaction allowed me to see these.