Studying Abroad, Living Abroad

Coming to Canada from another country can be a big step for international students, especially if they are not familiar with Canadian culture.

Being a Canadian who is coming to university and living with an international student can also be very nerve-wreaking if you’ve only ever lived in Canada. For Rachel Boyd of New Brunswick, it was exciting and intimidating to have an international roommate like Minhyoung Jin, who is an exchange student form South Korea. Rachel was nervous at first because she had heard stories about having international roommates and the issues that come with that. She was excited though because Korean culture interested her, and she wanted to learn more. The girls were quick to realized that they get along very well and will make good roommates this year. Their personalities work well together and they have similar living habits.

Having Rachel as a roommate has helped Minhyoung adjust to Canadian culture because she has someone to talk to and ask questions. Tiziana Zevallos found that the two months that she had a roommate last year helped her as well.

Coming from Peru, Tiziana didn’t expect there to be a big culture shock so when she got here she was surprised when she had trouble adjusting to Canada. Having an American father, she assumed she knew North American culture, however she was in for a bit of a surprise. “Coming here there are some things you wouldn’t expect” she said when asked about the differences. She wasn’t use to people taking off their shoes and outdoor clothing as soon as they walked into a room, or how different Canadian’s idea of personal space is.

The culture shock was made far easier for both Tiziana and Minhyoung by having Canadian roommates. Tiziana’s roommate moved out after just two months, but the short time she was there helped her greatly. Both girls admitted having someone to talk to was very helpful. Communication is key in any roommate relationship, but it is essential when you have an international roommate. Minhyoung is very happy to have Rachel around when she has questions about living in Canada and Tiziana agreed.

Both girls agreed that having people to talk to has helped them adjust to living here in Canada. Tiziana also found that joining groups on campus helped her after her roommate moved out. She found the big thing is having someone to talk to and to help her adjust.

All three girls said that talking to their roommates a head of time helped them a lot. They said it helped when they moved in, because they felt more comfortable talking to one another when issues came up. Minhyoung said that in Korea they are very passive, so she wasn’t use to telling Rachel about the things that bothered her. Rachel helped her to open up, and learn to communicate.

Overall being an international student can be hard, but having a good roommate that is willing to talk and is understand helps a lot.


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