Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Rotman Diaries #1: Adapting to life as an international student

To write about my experiences over the past couple of months seems like an improbable task considering the number of transitions that I have gone through and the experiences I have had over this period. It is amazing how in a couple of months I have been through a roller-coaster of  physical, emotional, cultural and socio-economical changes. So let me start off my first post as an international student in Toronto by recounting some of my experiences and sharing some advice.

1. Learn to cook - This is a mistake that I committed. I hate cooking. I simply hate standing in the kitchen for 10-20 minutes and watching food get made. I would rather go out and eat. But sooner rather than later, you will realise that you are on a student budget and you can't afford to spend so much on food everyday. That's also when you'll remember your mom and the amazing food she cooked for you...Mom - I miss you!!!

2. Get used to walking a lot - This advice is for those lazy souls who hate walking or for those who come from countries where public transportation is cheap. Buses and subway trains in Toronto have good connectivity but are not very convenient. Taxis are expensive and a short cab ride could easily set you back by 7$-8$. As a result, you are simply resigned to walking....A lot!!

3. Get used to saying "Sorry" - This is a typical Canadian thing. Canadians say sorry for everything and anything. They are famously polite - so much so that their reflexive use of the word ''sorry'', even when their behaviour doesn’t warrant it, has become as closely identified with Canada as hockey, maple syrup and poutine.  And if you truly want to blend in, then simply start by saying "sorry".

4. Get used to Canadianisms - It is very important that before coming to Canada you learn some of the typcial Canadianisms. This could be really helpful when you start having conversations with your Canadian classmates or even locals. Start getting used to words like "Eh'', ''tuque'', ''a mickey'', ''Bachelor Apartment'', ''Homo Milk'', "Two-Four'', ''Case'' or ''half-sack". I have attached a whole list of canadianisms for your convenience:

5. Football vs. Soccer and Hockey vs. Ice Hockey - This is not a Canadian thing but a more North American one. What I don't really understand is why would you call football as soccer when the entire world knows it as football??? On top of that why would you name a game ''football'' when there's already a game named like that. So basically, football in North America means American Football, whereas the game of football in North America is referred to as Soccer. Confused? So am I!!! Also, Canadians love talking about Baseball, Basketball and Ice Hockey. In Toronto, the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs are the local teams. Be sure to read about them - they can be good conversation starters. 

6. Get used to Tipsy TuesdaysMost colleges at UofT, including Rotman have Wednesday's off. It is usually meant for group work, catching up on readings or networking. But of course, in typical student fashion, every Tuesday night, the students get together at a local bar and "network'' over drinks. Tipsy Tuesday's are a great chance to go out, meet your classmates and second-years and have some fun in the middle of an intense grinding week. Also there are a few bars which have special discounts for students on Tuesday's. Do look out for them!!
That's all for now guys..I have to get back on Skype and ask my mom how to make Dal. I promise to get back soon with more interesting stories and anecdotes from Canada. In the meantime, practice some of the Canadianisms with your friends wherever you are. Trust me it's super fun!!

- Varun