Coming to Canada as an international student is one of the most viable options for many, especially those who are young and looking for international education and those who do not have a high score to come to Canada through the Express Entry system. As per the Statcan website, there was an increase of 13.7% (nearly 47K international students) in enrolments in the Canadian Universities and colleges from 2018/2019 to 2019/2020. Although international students prepare for months in advance if not years, for many students, adjusting to Canada is not as simple and struggle during the initial days in Canada. International students must know about these challenges in Canada and must be prepared to overcome them. With little more awareness, they can easily tackle these problems and put their energy into their study goals and live a memorable life ahead.
Student life in Canada is exciting and happening, with so much to experience, however, leaving behind your family is always painful, especially for those who have never left their family before. It is their first opportunity to leave their comfort zones, and many may be unable to return for years to meet their friends and families. Some international students studying in Canada may have negative consequences because of leaving their families.
Homesickness is a natural and even anticipated sensation when relocating thousands of miles away from home, regardless of whether it is your first experience living alone.
Most of the students rely on platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, or Google duo to do video talk with their families. However, there are a few more opportunities which can help a student overcome homesickness and build their network at the same time. Here is what students can do:
- Attend local parties and other social events
- Participate in the student music group
- Volunteer time at a Not-for-profit organization
- Join gym and fitness groups
- Visit religious places and meet people from your community
Weather and Climate
Canada is a large nation, and the first thing that comes to mind is the climate, especially if you have spent your whole life in largely warm locations. The climate of Canada is as diverse as its landscape. Winters in general are lengthy and cold, which can be difficult for overseas students.
No doubt, Canada is a cold country, however not all its provinces have the same climate. Most of the major cities border the United States and experience all four seasons, namely summer, winter, spring, and fall. Summers in Central Canada is hot and dry, while winter temperatures may plunge below -25 degrees. Winters in Canada are longer and colder and overseas students find them unbearable. Even though it is mostly cold in Canada if you dress in layers and cover yourself appropriately winters could be enjoyable too. Also, almost all residences and workplaces in Canada have a heating system which makes you feel comfortable indoors.
Students are required to have good English language skills. However, one of the difficulties that lead to many other problems in Canada is a lack of English language skills. International students find it challenging to comprehend and engage with others if they lack good listening and speaking abilities. This leads to other issues such as fewer friends, solitude, and poor academic performance.
English is one of the official languages (other being French) spoken in Canada, and it is difficult to thrive in Canada with inadequate English language abilities. To overcome this challenge, it is recommended that students take their English language studies seriously. Prepare extensively for each module of the IELTS exam.
Canada’s cultural diversity is as diverse as its territory. Students from other nations may find their method of interacting and eating a little strange and coping with a different culture and new environment can be very hard for many. Some students may find it strange, but Canada is a lively country where people have been living together for a very long time. When students discover how nice and supportive, they are, they will appreciate this colourful multicultural experience.
The greatest thing an international student can do to assist acclimate to the environment is to socialize as much as possible with the locals and to be open to asking questions. It might be beneficial to have someone you know at the institution with whom you can spend time reading and discussing various topics. Locals use slang and many terms to communicate the same idea. This might make you feel like a stranger at times but view it as a learning opportunity.
Studies in Canada are expensive for students coming from developing countries like India. Apart from the tuition expenses money can disappear quickly with food, rent, and other living costs.
Students can save a lot of money if they spend wisely; for example, they can use government transport facilities to commute to their institutes. They can even purchase a Student Travel Pass, which is a lot cheaper option for them. They can avoid eating out and prepare food on their own. Moreover, many institutes provide scholarships to international students. For this, they should check the website to which they are applying.
If an international student is having difficulties managing finances, it is better to talk to a counsellor about finances early on budget. Financial education also known as Financial Literacy is an important part of anyone’s life be it a student or a professional.
Another aspect of financial problems for international students in Canada is the difference between currencies. Therefore, you need to ensure that when you spend in Canada you must also earn in Canada. Try to land a job or start earning as soon as possible. Lastly, but very crucial is to set up a budget from day one can help and lot and learning about how to manage the finances in Canada.
Many international students are living away from home for the first time while studying abroad. Some students find it difficult to locate a place to stay in Canada while studying. They have no idea who to meet or where to begin. They must learn to handle other parts of life in addition to handling their educational burden in another country. Students who can overcome these obstacles are more likely to succeed in their future endeavours.
Consider connecting with your classmates even before you arrive in Canada, and plan to remain together for at least a few months after you arrive. After you have a thorough grasp of the geography and the ideal spot to reside, you may elect to live alone or separately with other friends.
It may be right for areas where the population is high. Generally, students have a lot of options for accommodation in Canada. There are a lot of websites which are specifically meant for international students who come to Canada to complete their studies. Many education institutes also update information regarding accommodation on their websites. Students can share their room with other students, which is also a cost-effective way to survive in Canada.
Finding a job while studying
Many Canadian PR aspirants who don’t have enough points through Express Entry, chose the study route to come to Canada. This enables international students to apply for permanent residence in Canada after graduation by improving their points in Express Entry. However, it is also a fact that many students fear not finding jobs in their field of study.
As a student, you can generally work for 20 hrs. a week, however, these jobs are generally low-paying jobs and in retail stores. Irrespective of salary, securing a job is essential since it will help international students pay for accommodation, transportation, Internet, food, and other basics.
Finding a job in the field of study or related to experience is very important for self-moral. There are some important points one must remember while finding a job in Canada but many feel it is the most demanding challenge for international students in Canada.
You can overcome this challenge by formulating clear strategies like attending social events in the community, volunteering, and networking.