Canada attracts students from all over the world, being an international student is an incredible experience. While many of these students do very well in their new environments, most still face struggles at some point or another. Moving across the globe all by yourself can be both exciting and somewhat unsettling. If you’re an international student in North America and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry—you are not alone. Here is a list of the Top Challenges Zimbabwean Students face in Canada along with the best methods of overcoming them.
1. Cultural Differences
Every country has different cultural standards thus, you will have to adjust to the local culture and make concerted efforts to learn, understand and respect the “unwritten rules.” This is essential if you want to enjoy a hitch-free study experience but is yet another one of the top challenges Zimbabwean students face in Canada.
Solution: Observe the locals and immerse yourself in their culture. Attend social events and cultural festivals. Ask questions and do some research to learn more about the culture of the people of your host country. Before long, you will adjust and act just like a local.
2. Financial Challenges
For many international students studying in Canada, this is their first time living away from home. On top of managing a school workload in another country, they have to learn to manage their money. This can be daunting sometimes especially considering the difference in value between both currencies. i.e the Canadian dollar and the Ghanaian cedi.
Solution: When setting up a Canadian bank account, ensure that you seek financial advice from your financial institution. You can equally make use of online tools which are available to help students with budgeting. This will help you spend your money judiciously.
3. Academic Challenges
Sometimes some assignments or tasks may be difficult and overwhelming. This is yet another one of the top challenges Zimbabwean students face in Canada and can be especially true for projects that involve abstract writing abilities, like essays. It can be very frustrating to fully understand a concept but be unable to express it satisfactorily.
Solution: Your professors are there to help you succeed, go to them for help when you need it. If your professors are unable to help you themselves, they can refer you to resources that they think will be helpful, like your university’s academic writing centre. Also, feel free to utilize resources like office hours and study groups.
Moving to school is a major transition and is one of the top challenges Zimbabwean students face in Canada. It’s easy to quickly fall into homesickness, especially if you find yourself feeling isolated. You may start missing your family, friends, the customs of your home country, and even the food you are used to eating.
Solution: Arguably, the solution to this problem is to make friends and spend lots of time with them. Also, interact freely with the locals as well as the internationals. It will make you feel better to tell your new friends about your country and life at home, to speak your native tongue with friends from your country, to teach foreign words to native English speakers, and even to expose your new friends to the foods you are accustomed to eating. This will give you a home away from home experience.
5. Accessing the Labour Market
According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education’s study, 51 per cent of international students plan to apply for permanent residence in Canada after graduation, but they also feel the labour market is difficult to access.
Solution: One way to overcome this challenge is to strive to obtain a co-op placement through school to gain some Canadian work experience. Another way around it is to network with friends and members of various communities, by joining clubs and attending events to widen your exposure and increase your chances of ultimately achieving success in securing a job.
6. Staying Active
Your lifestyle may change drastically when you move to school such that whether you’re hanging out with friends, sitting in class, studying for exams, or writing a paper, you may not be able to get the same amount of exercise you’re used to. Plus, the new foods you’re eating may be drastically different from (and greasier than) your regular diet.
Solution: There are lots of gyms around, try using them to keep fit and stay healthy. After all, you have free membership as a student. Most university recreational centres also offer free fitness classes and intramural sports. You can also join an academic or social club, and try to become familiar with the city you live in by using public transportation and going for walks. Staying active will do you a whole world of good, make you feel integrated, settled, and help you avoid homesickness.
A stitch in time saves nine; having reviewed the top challenges Zimbabwean students face in Canada and along with the best methods of overcoming them, you are in a very good position to take the necessary steps to overcome these challenges and enjoy your dream study experience rather than falling victim to these same challenges and seeking ways of salvaging the situation.