- For Teachers
The most interesting experience in my life was starting a new life from Tanzania to Canada as an international student. I was excited to travel to Canada to study, but I didnít know it was not going to be easy as I expected. I thought life was going to be simple like home, but it turned out to be very difficult. I had to face these challenges language barrier, culture shock, and unemployment.
English is my second language, but I didnít speak any English when I first came. Swahili is the main language spoken in Tanzania. It was extreme difficult coming to a new country with no English background. I remember when I was still at home; my mother told me I will be taking public transit, I was scared because of my language barrier how was I going to communicate, or read a map. On the other hand, at school, domestic students did not socialize with others instead spending their time to talk about sports such as hockey, skiing, and bowling which I had no knowledge of it. As a result, I felt left out. It made even harder for me to develop a relationship with domestic students because I didnít fit in either group. Therefore, I found out one of the reason of not being able to socialize with other students made no progress to my English.
Furthermore, almost everyone who studies, lives or works abroad experiences some degree of culture shock. I was one of the people who experienced culture shock when I first arrived at the college. Students were from different parts of the world, but the majority were from Asia and South America. I was the minority at the college, thus made me feel wild and lonely. I knew who I was, where I leave or what I was supposed to do on the following days, but I didnít understand why I was feeling isolated. Later on I realized it was culture shock. Prior to my arrival, I had no idea about Asian or South American culture. Interesting enough, I found out the same thing from one of my former classmate. She had no impression about Africa culture either. For instance, I remember her telling me that, she didnít know if Africa has many countries, or spoke different languages. Also coming from undeveloped to developed country, I was fascinated by academic environment, and social environment. Academically, I was amazed to see students brought food into the classroom, which was not permitted in my country. Socially, I was shocked to see many female students smoking during the break. Smoking is common in my country, but not for girls. However, few months later, I managed and got used to the Canadian culture.
In addition, my goal was to study full time and work part time. Unfortunately, with my student visa I was allowed to work on campus only. Before my arrival, I had little knowledge of what an international student can or can not do, or which college was good or not good. The college I first attended, it was a small private college located downtown Vancouver. There were no employment opportunities at all, besides most of the students attended came from wealth families. Employment for them wasnít that important as for me. However, financially I was okay at the beginning, but I wasnít going to be fine later on. I needed extra cash to buy things such as bus ticket, groceries, clothes, and text books. I did struggle for some period of time. During my struggle, I decided to volunteer with different organizations, in order to obtain Canadian working experience. After few years my situation changed from an International student to Canadian permanent resident. As a result, I was able to acquire my first job in Canada easily because I had an experience already.
Finally, during the time I came to study abroad. Canada increased my awareness of other culture, improved my English, and gave me an opportunity to work with different people from all over the world. It was life interesting experience for me; I will always carry these memories with me forever.