Alex Pham - CIS Alumni, Grade 12 student of Central Technical School, Canada.


As of October 20th, I have officially been away from home for four months and it has been a roller coaster: not a terrifying but an exciting ride!

I consider myself very lucky! I have a wonderful homestay family. Alzira and Victor are a Portuguese couple who have two wonderful daughters, Sylvia and Andrea who have moved out into their own world. Alzira and Victor decided to have “new kids” in their home and I am fortunate to be one of them. Every night, we eat dinner together, tell each other stories and I appreciate being a part of their family. I already have memories with my new family such as cheering for the Blue Jays and Maple Leafs through the small TV screen. On the other hand there were... some embarrassing moments. On my second day, I was hungry at midnight so I decided to come down to the kitchen to find something to eat. Little did I know that, I was eating Victor’s lunch! Alzira wasn’t mad. She laughed the whole day about the incident. Did I say that I get to eat amazing food? Alzira is a great cook. My friends are so jealous of my lunch since I don’t have to eat sandwiches every day but multiple kinds of food like pasta and rice.

 Unlike most international students, I have not had problems adjusting to a new home. It is hard to have friends at the start of the school year but my CIS friends are on the same ride. Here in Toronto, I have the privilege of having friends who have been through the same experiences. Most weekends, I hang out with Nick, a CIS alumni, for photo shoots around downtown Toronto. Also, I often spend my time with my CIS friends around Harbourfront and drink bubble tea. I consider us the ‘crazy kids’ since it’s too cold to be near the water during this season yet we keep telling ourselves that we are preparing for the winter. It may look like I have surrounded myself with only familiar faces but I have made a lot of new friends, too: Anzhela, a person who loves photography and the band Bring Me the Horizon; Brian, the guy who loves to shop on eBay and has a great taste in street fashion; Beatrice, the funny and intelligent girl who has a passion for cosplaying; and Ashlesha, who shares my interest in sci-fi novels.

At first, I was afraid that I would not fit it but I was wrong. I have blended in just fine. If the students are great, then the classes and the teachers are even better. This semester, I get to study Photography, Video, Writer’s Craft and English. From the beginning, I have learned the technical terms and the skills for photography and video. Now, I have the chance to apply them in my own work. I was never a fan of English but coming here changed my mind completely. The teacher has such a great passion for language that she persuades me to love the power of words. How do I even describe the Writer’s Craft class... I love it! Mr. Klich has a passion for storytelling. One thing he keeps reminding me is to write realistically but to also leave room for the reader to fantasize. For the last few weeks, Mr. Klich and I have been working on a script for my Ryerson portfolio which I hope you guys will get to see soon.

 There are ups and downs along the road. I miss my home of course. I miss my friends, teachers at CIS and certainly, my family. Four months without all of you is hard but I’m trying. I am here to follow my dream: to be a film director. In the end, this is the right decision for me !