The quote “Life is a long journey” is currently exchanged among friends to encourage each other to experience as much as possible when they are still young. This is my favorite quote, it helped prompt my decision to backpack and go to Canada in the summer of 2016, when I was 19. Canada was a completely strange country to me and I was surprised it became the place where I began my journey of learning.
When I was growing up in Saigon, I was the apple of my parents’ and relatives’ eyes and had little contact with real life. As a result, I was considered by them to be dependent and timid. However, I saw myself differently. I had the intention to study abroad when I was still in high school but my parents thought it was too early. So I finished high school in Vietnam as per their wishes.
After graduating, my friends continued on going to universities. However, with my parents’ consent, I took a year off to learn about studying overseas and to relax after a long learning process. A year-long break (commonly known as a gap year) is not common for Vietnamese students but other countries have long adopted and realized many benefits from a gap year. Thanks to my gap year, I had many opportunities to learn from other people’s experiences. I was introduced to the idea of going to Toronto by one of my friends and began to learn more about the living environment and education there. After deciding on Toronto as my overseas study destination, I carried out necessary procedures for a visa application and university registration. The process took place faster and more smoothly than I expected. The processing time from submitting the paperwork to getting a visa was about one and a half month.
On my first day in Toronto in late July 2016, although I was well-prepared and lived with some Vietnamese friends, I still felt strange and was really homesick.
Born and growing up in the busy city of Saigon, I was accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the city streets crowded with people on their motorbikes. However, in Canada, everything was different. I was surprised to see only cars and the streets were deserted of people.
After a few days, my circadian rhythm adjusted and I familiarized myself with my new life. I felt much better and told myself that this was definitively my opportunity to be more independent, and gain more experience and unforgettable memories. I gradually kept up with everyone around me and realized that people here are quite friendly and willing to help when needed.
Studying at Sheridan College in a 4-year program, an Honours Bachelor of Business Administration (Marketing Management) program, I made friends with many people from different countries. Canada is regarded as a multicultural country and it gave me a chance to interact with many different cultures. Not only did it help me improve my English communication skills but it has also allowed me to learn about other cultures as well. There are a range of cuisines in Canada, so that I had no difficulties in adapting to food and have had more opportunities to experience different dishes.
Canada has beautiful scenery. People jokingly said that you only need to raise the camera and shoot, and you will have a good photo. The landscape changes seasonally and characteristically. In spring, buds appear on trees and everything looks cheerful and lively after the long, cold winter. Spring is also when cherry trees bloom, attracting a lot of people. In autumn, it is wonderful to see the leaves change from green to yellow and red. For someone who is addicted to sightseeing like me, Canada is an ideal country.
Overseas study in Canada has been a great experience. I have had an opportunity to learn in a country whose education system is one of the top ranks in the world as well as gain experience in the process of living and interacting with people who come from many different places. I am very grateful to my parents who have given me a chance to continue to study and stay in this country. After finishing my 4-year program, I hope that I can find a suitable job to fulfill my dream in Canada.
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This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt