Tips and tricks on how to get through the cold winter and homesickness if you decide to head to study in Canada.
Let’s talk about that Winter Wonderland
It really doesn’t matter which part of Canada you are heading too it will be colder than you are expecting. Save yourself the money and space in the suitcase and get a winter jacket in Canada. Not saying you shouldn’t have a jacket coming but don’t bother trying to buy a new one unless you are from Scandinavia or Russia orrr Iceland, you know, they know what winter is. You can do the same with boots but as long as yours are water resistant you will be okay ( with two pairs of socks 😀 ).
Don’t let the winter discourage you. It is amazing and the public transport will be functioning even with heavy amounts of snow. I Canadian winters. But I feel like I am the only one sometimes. I basically think of it as Narnia. 😀
That College Experience
I went to Niagara College in Ontario. First, tuition is hella expensive, second books are fucking expensive and like they are written with gold letters. So be prepared for that. But there are FB pages, groups that people sell used books, or get used to using kijiji.ca – it will save you a lot of money especially on books.
It is cool to know ahead where the international office is because they will be your friends or the most visited office. When it comes to taking care of your visa, classes, registration. Most of the things are the same as for domestic students but there are some things that an international student will have to do extra. I had nothing but great experience with the folks from the international office.
Mingling with international students is cool, but to experience the culture itself, hang out with Canadain students too. They are SUPER friendly and with certain subjects, like law, they helped me A LOT. They know you are an international student and they want you to succeed.
Study groups are a thing! I don’t know about you, but in Croatia, study groups are not something anyone did. Study groups would be considered too nerdy, especially if it is weeks before the exam. So I was hanging out with most of the Canadians in the class but one certain group would always ask me if I want to be in their study group, BINGO! It helped me a lot. We spent a lot of time in the library but I passed all my exams and handed in every project on time or before time.
You HAVE TO be in class. I mean you can skip, but let me tell ya, it will be hella hard to catch up. There are no second chances in exams. In Europe, for example, you have 3 chances to pass the test but there is not such a thing in Canada. If you fail once you most likely will fail that course, but if you have any trouble or missing class for a reason, just talk to your professor. Professors can see through the BS and if you are honest you will be fine.
IS THERE FREE TIME?!
Yeah, for sure. So I was a full-time student and during the week I was 100% devoted to school and on the weekends I actually worked. If you are not working you have weekends for yourself. But I chose to work as a waitress and it was great.
Did someone ask about HOUSING?
When I was applying for college, the international office at Niagara College asked me what kind of housing I wanted. I could be on a waiting list for college housing, you know those huge campus areas, look for accommodation on my own or Homestay. I was on my own, first time on the other side of the world didn’t know anyone and I chose Homestay.
IT WAS THE BEST THING!
My homestay family was awesome. They picked me up at the airport, fed me, showed me around and how to get around. If it wasn’t for them I would never figure out the public transport. I highly recommend Homestay option if you can. You pay for rent, food, utilities in one. You can go shopping with your Homestay family or asked them to buy you what you want or need.
Your homestay most times becomes your Canadian family. I spent 3 years in Canada and they helped me to move out, they were there when I graduated, when I got my first job. All of it. The housing can be pricey and you will end up with a roommate, but I suggest to do that if you have a friend coming along.
Oh! And it is true, MILK IS IN A BAG! 😀
Before I went there I Googled A LOT! And sent emails to my college asking all sorts of questions.
There is still a lot that I have learned and tips to share. If you want me to write about anything specific let me know. Leave a comment or email me. ( food, prices, how to find a job, how to write a resume for a Canadian job or even public transport ) 🙂
With Love. 🙂