Meeting international friends at DC

International students at Durham's big 'O'
International students at Durham’s big ‘O’

That sudden chill down her spine, that refreshing and pure breeze, that realization of attaining the freedom she left home for. This is something she dreamt of, moving to a different country. Keya Patel, a student from India who moved to Oshawa last September felt this the day she stepped onto foreign land.


Moving from a country where being together and being dependent on family and friends is everything to a country where independence is important for its dwellers, was a journey she took almost 25 hours to complete.


Patel is one of the four hundred international students who moved to Durham College this year to learn something new and to breathe in a different air and culture. “This is exciting, life is so different here. It’s pretty scary, but surely a learning experience, “she said.


Canada is one of the most popular countries chosen by international students for its safe environment, excellent education and health care. Students leave their home country and move to countries such as Canada, America, and Europe, to enrich their knowledge and become financially and mentally independent individuals.


“I was a pampered child. I never even lifted a spoon to cook back home, and now I literally cook, wash and clean. Oh my God, it’s like a different life all-together,” said Vrutant Panchal, a project management student at Durham College.


Life in countries such as India, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other developing countries is very different when compared to life in the western countries. The financial, economical and employment sectors of these nations are still developing. Attaining financial stability and security is one of the main reasons for international students to move away.


“Sending my child away from me was extremely difficult, I still cry myself to sleep, but I know it is for her benefit. To see her grow is all I want,” said Jayanti Patel, Keya’s mother.

If life is so good back home for international students, why are they here in Canada? Why pay three times the fees, leave families behind, and live a life alone in new country?


“It is the experience that I am here for, the practical knowledge, the independence and the education makes moving to a different country enriching,“ said Arpita Goala, a Public Relations student from the University of Winnipeg. “The medium of education and the quality provided in Canada is beyond doubt one of the best, thus I am here.”


A popular belief is that international students must be rich, that’s the only way they should be able to manage the expenses. But it turns out they are not really that rich. Many international students move to foreign countries by taking out education loans and mortgaging properties. International students put in an enormous effort and finances to move to a new country such as Canada.


Vikram Sanghai, a Visual Effects student at Durham College feels international students take the step of moving to a different country to increase their future prospects and secure their lives. “The opportunity of employment and quality of living is much better here in Canada. Yes, it was a mentally difficult journey getting here, but it sure is worth the effort,” he said.


There are many students at Durham College and other colleges in Canada who are here to make a better life for their families back home. Canada is one of the countries that provide stability and thus it is the new home for thousands of international students


“Students come here in the hope of learning something new, enlightening and benefiting to their careers. I miss my family a great deal, I shed a tear or two every time I talk to them, but I know it is important for me. The sacrifices made in the journey are just stepping-stones to success,” said Keya Patel.



International students at Durham's big 'O'
International students at Durham’s big ‘O’
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Remona Maria Pillai is a second-year journalism student at Durham College. When it comes to writing and reporting, she enjoys covering entertainment, social issues and community events. She likes to spend her spare time reading, singing and socializing. Remona hopes to be an on-air presenter or field reporter following graduation.