Through the eyes of a foreign student

Header image for Interrobang article CREDIT: FANSHAWEC.CA/INTERNATIONAL
Moving to a new country can be scary and difficult, but there are also some positives to coming to London.

If you haven’t noticed, Fanshawe College has tons of international students walking its hallways.

Many students venture out at a young age trying to figure out who they want to be once they’ve either finished high school or graduated with a bachelor’s degree in hand. And, Canada is one of the friendliest options out there.

Having first-hand experience of being an international resident myself it’s safe to say that there are a variety of challenges you have to overcome to actually feel like you’ve settled in.

These challenges ranged from culture shocks to food, to adapting to varying weather conditions. Well, we can all agree that the weather is the toughest one and that no one is probably ever going to get used to it, not even the locals.

Another challenge that comes as a surprise to many Indian’s here in Canada, is the cultural differences between both countries. For example, young Indian students find it very difficult to leave the comfort of their homes, something they’ve always thought of as a more permanent setting and move across the world to a new country like Canada.

However, ‘moving out’ is a norm here once you turn sixteen or eighteen years of age. The independency that you get here is rare back in India, but that is also something a lot of students come seeking for in the west.

Food is another major difference for Indian’s in Canada. Spices is an unexplored territory here and that’s something Indians have conquered. Spices act as a base to every dish in Indian cuisine. So yes, salt and pepper are way too basic. However, London has a good mix of cultures and there are plenty of restaurants here that offer a variety of cuisines from all over the world.

India and China are the two most populated countries in the world so the concept of ‘personal space’ is rather new. Speaking as an Indian, crowds come naturally to us. Traffic doesn’t bother us nor does the sound of cars honking.

The lack of crowds is a factor that might actually make us feel a bit lonely. When you come from a city or country where noise is everywhere and there’s always someone to talk to or something to do, London can be frightening only because it is so quiet. But, there is a way to tackle that. One way could be to make a good group of friends who can understand what you’re going through. There is always someone who is in the same boat as you are. Another way could be to use the Counselling and Accessibility Services here at Fanshawe College. The counsellors here are professionally trained, have a wealth of experience and knowledge and can assist you in areas such as academic issues, career counselling and personal concerns. Full-time students can access these services at any moment.

There are some brave hearts who overcome these challenges, only to succeed and make a comfortable life here, but there are some who find it a tad bit more difficult. It is therefore not surprising to see many international students, Indians or not, return home after living here for a few years.