Kang Seong-a, Division of Business Administration
Before I start, I really want to express my appreciation to the ‘Off-Campus’ program. I learned a lot in Canada, much more than I expected. Now, I am going to tell you about my experiences in Canada.
First of all, I could experience a lot of Canadian cultures. I lived in homestay after school, which is living with a Canadian family. Staying with a Homestay family definitely had special merits. I went to see Owen’s (son of my homestay family) hockey match and went out shopping for Olivia’s (daughter of them) birthday was coming. Me and the family also celebrated their grandmother’s birthday together. They always treated me with love. At least I didn’t feel alone as long as I was with them. Moreover or Additionally, I was easily exposed to Canadian culture. I spent time with them every holiday. I ate a big turkey sitting in a circle at a long table on Thanksgiving Day. We carved a scary face on a pumpkin as well during Halloween. Also, I could see a lot of sophisticated decorations when the Christmas was approaching. The experiences I had with my homestay family were the happiest and best part of the entire time I was in Canada.
Secondly, I went all around Canada. I didn’t stay only in Ontario where I had to stay because of my school. It was located in Toronto, and was pretty far from the main city. On the weekends, I used to go to main city. It seemed like a small New York in the USA. Also, there were many school programs for students to help them adjust to life in Canada easily. When I felt unfamiliar with Canada, they would encourage me to keep an open mind. I couldn’t forget when I saw Niagara Falls for the first time. I saw the place that I used to only look at in my Korean textbooks. During a reading week, which is a holiday for one week applicable to college students, I went to Québec and Montreal. It was my special challenge since I hadn’t traveled anywhere alone. Canada is a special country where I could find extensive nature as well as developed views. Also, I was able to observe their leisurely lifestyle that I wouldn’t find in Korea. Canada might be one of the most peaceful countries in the world. The array of different views in Canada gave me time to think about myself, do some needed self-reflection.
Finally, I made a lot of friends who came from different countries. I met Canadian friends from the school’s fencing club, English Circle club and even from the interviews I had to do to complete my project. However, the people who had been my real friends were my classmates. We saw each other every day, and discussed many different topics. I was able to broaden my horizons with by speaking with other foreigners. Even though the languages were different, we were best friends. Since I left Canada, we have kept in touch by SNS. I am so glad to have met them through this program. Moreover, I could practice speaking in English all the time, every day because of my new friends. Doing our team homework and sharing our thoughts together helped us speak English without any fear. If they had not been sitting beside me, I might not have gained any confidence speaking in English when I wanted to say something. We, who came to Canada from our hometowns, had the same goal, to improve our English skills so we could unite easily. Also, I couldn’t forget everything we did together. We watched ice hockey games and movies. At Halloween, we were busy decorating each other’s faces and after that, we went to the amusement park. We held a farewell party. I will never forget their crying because we each had to return to our own country. I can’t share all my stories here but we were our only support for each other in a foreign country, aside from our homestay families. The most precious thing that I got from Canada was my friends.
I really recommend this ‘Off-Campus’ program. It gave me the time to look back how I lived in the past, and the confidence that I can do whatever I face in Korea. The experiences in Canada must be my nourishments for my whole life. It would be the best time of my life from now on. Thank you CBNU and Canada!
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