International students! Don’t be afraid of being independent.

Recently, I have met a large number of international students. I have come to know many interesting stories, experiences, and lessons from them. Some students are excited to come to a new land and live their life their way. Some are scared of what this journey may bring – afraid of unknown. Certainly, they are way out of their comfort zone, away from families, culture and traditional food. They get homesick and manage their lives in cold Canadian winters.

Enrollment of international students has raised by 11 percent in 2017. British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec are the most common destinations in Canada. China, India, Korea, Saudi Arabia from Asia, United Kingdom and France from Europe and Nigeria and Egypt from Africa are the main countries to send students to British Columbia for Education. The Canadian government also has an ambitious plan to increase the number of international students to 450,000 by 2022 according to Times Higher Education. 

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1- Stay self-motivated: it is easy to lose motivation when you are overwhelmed with a lot of new rules and regulations to learn. So, visual your goal every day and stay focus.   

2- Manage your workload: You will struggle to manage your time and pull all-nighters, and it is completely okay! Use your free time wisely and stick to your schedule. 

3- Make friends – 24/7 socializing: Do yourself a favor, smile towards a student sitting next to you in class and just say hi. Take an initiative. You never know, you may find a friend for life. 

4- Endless opportunities: your stay in Canada is what you want to make out of it. Say yes to new experiences and learn new hobbies. 

5- Start saving when you start earning. Try to put away 10 percent of whatever you earn, so you have some savings for a trip to another place or back to your native country.   

6- Create community and support your friends. If something happens to you while you are in Canada, your friends will be second to 911 to help you in an emergency. 

7- Give before you ask: I can’t emphasize enough on becoming a volunteer, from taking notes in class to sitting on board. Do give back to your community. You may not earn any money, but you will end up making networking and learning new skills. It is worth it. 

Amna Khaliq is a Business Management Instructor at Northern Lights College. The views expressed are her own. She believes that kindness, smiles, love, and yawning is contagious. In her spare time, she likes traveling, cooking, reading and working out. 

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