Sanjay January 16, 2012

Hello Everyone,

First of all let me say Happy 2012 to all of you and let this New Year be healthy and prosperous for you and your family. I completed my first year in Durham College and Canada on 29th Dec, 2011 and what a great year it has been. I made a lot of new friends, faced my challenges and am happy with my journey so far. That’s why we are different, we are International students; we came to Durham College to learn, explore and make a new career from the Canadian education, industries, businesses and technology.

A warm welcome to all new international students! I was happy to see you all at  orientation. Most international students were worried at first, but after they saw the International Department talking to them, smiling at them, asking about their arrival and comfort in Canada, it put smiles on their faces. International students need to know that they should always consider The International Office, SALS, First Generation and Diversity Office as their family; we all are here to help you and take care of you. Never hesitate to talk to the great people working in these departments because they can give you lots of great advice and tips on how to be successful as a student in Durham College and improve your life in Canada.

First things first, your studies are the reason you are here in Canada and numerous researches have shown that students who regularly attend their classes are most likely to succeed in their courses. Respecting your professors, colleagues and school policies are also really important because I always consider life as a mirror and what you give is what you get.

We all face problems when we are in a new country. The environment, culture shock, weather and food habits, but my solution to these problems is never give up, just keep in mind “I am not a quitter, and I’ll ask for help if required”. Which is the right place and who are the right people to ask for  advice when in trouble? Asking your friends and relatives for advice may be a good idea, but remember the only people who will help you out without any hidden agenda or profit is either the International Department or the Student Services Building.

The first few months in Canada are tough. The best place to stay warm when not at school is, in your house. Make sure the windows and doors are properly sealed so no cold air can come in. Communicable diseases such as colds, flu’s, respiratory infections and more can spread easily in the winter. Wash your hands with soap and use hand sanitizers frequently when in public places, as they say “prevention is better than cure”. Use a handkerchief to cover your mouth and dress properly in layers for winter.

Managing your finances is really important. For my first few months, I was really careful with my finances and how much I spent on certain things. Try to prioritize what’s important and what’s not. Put luxury items at the end of the list, unless you are super-rich. Try to find cheap deals online or check out flyers from different grocery stores or electronics stores. Stocking up when certain food items are cheap, is also not a bad option (but check the expiry).

When I walk around the college and talk to students, everyone has one thing in common “loneliness”. I have only one thing to say, “look around you, you are studying among 8,000 students and support staff in Durham college, know them, talk to them or at least smile at them and you’ll make friends in no time .Join a student club, be part of the Durham college community and you’ll know why we are the best college in Ontario.”

By:-Sanjay Surendran