Between the Worlds,” our special interview series unveils the incredible journeys of immigrants who have crossed borders, cultures, and dreams. One such captivating story is that of Ojaswin Singh, a student in Canada.
The decision to leave home and choose Canada
Canada stands tall as a premier destination for overseas education, attracting almost a fifth of its students from diverse corners of the globe. Renowned for its top-notch universities offering world-class facilities and enriching student life, Canada provides a transformative learning environment that empowers students to pursue their dreams.
While some dreams may come true, others may require adaptation, perseverance, or even lead us in entirely unexpected directions.
I ask Ojaswin about the driving force that led him to choose Canada.
“My decision to come to Canada was driven by the desire to step out of my comfort zone. In India, I was a pampered child, totally spoiled by my parents. So I actually wanted to test myself and that’s why I left everything back in India. Came to Canada to study, to make a life for myself.” he says.
Even though the destination remains the same, everyone embarks on a different journey. For some, it is seamless, for some not.
“After facing numerous challenges, I finally applied for my visa. The entire process was tiring and time-consuming. And then something unexpected happened- my visa got rejected and there was nothing that even my consultant could do about it, there was no solution but to apply again.”
And the conversation took a serious turn thereafter.
Is the grass really greener on the other side?
We talk more about Ojaswin’s initial time in Canada, delving deeper into the entire process of relocating here. From experiencing his first snowfall to preparing his first self-made meal, he shared an array of remarkable moments that marked his journey in a distant land.
But where’s the truth? Hidden behind those joyful pictures amidst snowfall it lies. What we see may not be the reality for international students; behind their cheerful smiles lies a world of challenges concealed from our view.
“There are challenges like finding a home. But that’s not as big as finding a job here. went door to door just hand out my resume. I would have around hundreds of them but at the end of the day, I only got a reply back from two or three. I came in January and that’s a very slow season and people are actually not buying anything. They don’t even work a lot.
At the moment I was like I would do any job, even cleaning dishes or anything.”
And so, we arrive at the important question- Is the grass really greener on the other side?
“No. Just And if you do that, like you’re wasting money, you’re wasting time, you will actually be like, why am I here? So, think. Don’t just come here just because your friends tell you that it’s good and it’s amazing. That’s not the thing. Don’t just get influenced by anyone, do your own research.” he says.
The initial excitement of exploring a new country and experiencing diverse cultures soon gave way to the reality of adapting to a totally new environment. Language barriers, academic pressure, and homesickness are some of the hurdles that students have to encounter.
Additionally, job hunting as an international student in Canada presents its own set of challenges. Navigating through unfamiliar job markets, cultural differences, understanding local hiring practices, and building a professional network from scratch can be overwhelming. But that’s when a strong network comes into play, it can enhance your chances of finding new opportunities. By building connections, students gain referrals, mentorship, and support, which further enhances their chancing of landing a job.
That is how Ojaswin landed a job at The Home Depot after months of struggle.
“So then I asked my friends and like after a good two or two and a half months I finally landed a job in Home Depot that I’m currently doing. And that was also with a reference. I felt bad that I didn’t even get a job on my own. So that’s like one of the biggest issues that’s going on here. Getting a part time job.”
Proud moments and meaningful friendships
After discussing his challenges and struggles, I shifted the conversation for him to share some of his proudest moments.
“Since I came here, I’ve had no time to spare, and I’m grateful for the heightened focus I’ve gained compared to my time in India. It’s been a journey of personal development, gaining confidence, meeting new people, and learning how to handle various things at once. To be honest, I am proud of myself for doing all these things at once. Making new, meaningful friendships has proven crucial, as they become the support system that helps me through every situation, beyond what family can do.”
Away from the familiar warmth of home, he took up a journey that stirred a whirlwind of emotions. So, for him having friends was not just to enrich his social life but to have a support system he could go back to.
Looking back and reflecting on his journey
Finally, Ojaswin reflects on the great learnings he has gained.
“My suggestion would be to take your time and plan things out. I’ve seen friends here who struggled because they chose the wrong courses. Don’t waste your money and time; you might end up questioning why you’re here. Plan carefully, don’t just come because someone said it’s good and amazing. If your goal is to gain new skills, choose your course wisely, as that will ultimately help you land a job in Canada.”
By sharing his suggestions, he empowers those who are about to embark on their immigration journey.
With this last question, our remarkable conversation comes to an end – “What are your hopes and aspirations for your future in this country?”
“To be honest, this country has seen my highs and lows, and it’s truly a wonderful place. I feel like there are good opportunities and if you are focused, you can do anything. There is great recognition and good money here. As time goes on, I see myself spending a few years here.”
The joys and struggles of international students create a rich tapestry of encounters that profoundly influence their lives. From the thrill of exploring a new land and cultural immersion to the challenges of adaptation and homesickness, each aspect of their journey contributes to personal growth and resilience.
Amidst the highs and lows, they forge lasting friendships, embrace diversity, and learn to appreciate the beauty of a global community. They develop a unique perspective that goes beyond borders.
To view the full video of this conversation please check out the youtube link below