I was born in a small town in India. I was very ambitious from the start, and as I grew up, I wanted more than what my city could offer. So, after completing high school, I moved to a bigger city to pursue my graduation, and later to an even bigger city for job. However, I was still in India.
Eventually, more than just fulfilling my ambition, it became my desire to see the world and experience its diversity, so I decided to move abroad. After much research and guidance from my seniors, I applied for a course in IT at Evergreen College located in Toronto, Canada.
Canada was almost 11,625 kilometers away from my country, and it was not just the physical distance between the countries that mattered. Canada is culturally, socially, economically and professionally miles apart from India. While living in India, I had only read about Toronto or had seen it in the movies. However, no movie or book in the world can provide real, first-hand experience of a place.
The opportunity to visit anywhere abroad was a great honour, though. So my friends and colleagues wished me well, and within a few months after my acceptance into the college, I moved to Toronto.
I arrived in the last week of January, just three days before the end of the month. To my surprise, other than my cousin brother and his girlfriend, the polar winds were there to welcome me. I must confess that I had never seen snow in my life before, and I think God considered my wish a little too seriously. Little did I know that the strong grip shoes I bought impulsively some time back would be a life-saver. The following few days were only about winter shopping, something I used to do once a couple of years back in my country.
I still had a week before my classes started, so I had ample amount of time to take care of other important tasks. I went to the bank to open a student account, and there began my observation on how Canada is different from the part of the world I belonged to. My meeting with the bank was set within a fixed time, and it finished very efficiently in the scheduled time. Not a minute over or under. Also, every bank employee was engrossed in work and I didn’t see anyone chatting near the coffee machine or on smoke breaks. This brief experience taught me a lot about the work culture in Toronto.
The next challenge on my way was finding a home. For me, this wasn’t too easy nor too hard. I have had a lot of experience of finding a rented accommodation back in India and it had taught me not to lose patience. My cousin and his girlfriend took care of me till the time I got a place and also helped me know about different areas, the kind of places available, price ranges, etc.
I got a place that was a little more costly than my expectation, however, the connectivity and area were totally worth it and I didn’t want to take any chances with respect to the time it took me to reach my college. The neighborhood was splendid and the view through my window was beautiful. I always wanted a place where I look forward to come home to, and I was glad that I got what I desired.
Finally my first day of classes arrived, and here I was, heading back to school. It always feels good to be in a student’s chair. I had never realized at the time of my graduation, but this is the only period, you are allowed to make mistakes, learn things, ask and adapt. Valuing this time provides invaluable lessons for the rest of our lives.
Most of my colleagues were from India, however, India has one of the most diverse cultures in the world. Though my fellow classmates were from the same country, we were miles apart in terms of language, so they being Indian made little difference to me as I could only talk to them in English like everyone else in Toronto. I also made friends with other students who were from Mexico, Thailand and Indonesia. My classmates were very friendly and we gelled up well.
The teaching style was also quite different from my country. Our professor had a very structured approach and completed each module in designated time. Also, though there was a lot to learn, I felt no burden of homework or the need to bring work back home. It was the first time I could leave work at work and have “me-time” at home.
I am thankful to Evergreen College to give me this opportunity that taught me so many things in such a short amount of time. More than a city, Toronto is like a dream that has come to life, and anyone who has dreams but is not sure of the way, should definitely choose Toronto.