Trading home for a house then making it home

Hi, my name is David and I graduated from CIS in 2018 as part of the second generation of IB students. Currently, I am majoring in Human Relations at Concordia University and with fingers crossed, soon adding a major in Physiotherapy. Now that it has been more than one year I think it's time to write some thoughts about life in Canada, some of its challenges, new experiences and a few tips for you.

Trading home for a house

The challenge with transitioning for me was that I was trading a home for a house, a home where you are emotionally invested.

I was filled with excitement with a hint of anxiety as I went through the highs and lows of this analogy's roller coaster. I remember my first lecture as I sat in the front row and made a few friends who along the way I have come to cherish. It wasn't all sunshine and ice cream of course, life in Canada does present its challenges, especially in Quebec where you have to pronounce every street name like you have something stuck in your throat. But hey, “C'est le français”. Language jokes aside, there were challenges other than the French kind; there were times where I couldn't build up the confidence to talk to people and make friends. But then I asked myself, "What's the worst that can happen?" and "rejection" was the usual answer. Once I left CIS, I realized that there are a lot of opportunities to start making friends; many chances to make things right again. In some oddly fitting way, it is like jumping into ice cold water in the Canadian winter wearing nothing but a swimsuit. Sometimes you just have to take your chances, say "forget it" and jump in.

Tips to overcome homesick

Feeling homesick? The first tip I can give is that if you are missing home then try volunteering for a community that represents your home country. I am doing so by being a volunteer photo-videographer for the Lạc Hồng Group, an apolitical group focusing on sports and cultural events related to Vietnam. I have been with the group ever since I got to Montreal and I can certainly say that it is a bit of "home away from home".

The second tip I can give is that now you are somewhat of an independent adult, you have responsibilities to keep up with. I am not talking about school or work, you are now also responsible for your own health and wellbeing too. So make sure you take a break when you can, eat your vegetables and get enough sleep. It is possible, I promise, especially with the sleep part.

The third tip is that you should find time to just sit down, catch a breath and collect your thoughts. It's an important skill that I am still getting the hang of, especially when I feel like the sky is falling down on me. This skill is something the past David could have really used when he first landed in Montreal, pupil's shrinking and goosebumps rising are all the signs en français. When I collect my thoughts, I often ask myself, "Okay, what problems can be dealt with at the moment?" and "What are the steps I am taking to solve those problems?". Through that, I begin to grasp the fact that (1) I am working to solve the problem and (2) Thinking that my world will crumble to pieces is not solving the problem, the best it can do is motivate myself to do something but that's all it can do.

In closing, I hope this entry sheds some light on what life could be for you if you are thinking of studying abroad. I am sure more folks who are no doubt getting comfortable in their new houses will be sharing their thoughts shortly. Take care!

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