Can you share your name and share a little bit about yourself?
Hi, my name is Bhaumik Shah, and I come from Gujarat, India. I completed my Bachelor’s in Computer Engineering in India and am now studying at Conestoga College in the same field. I also recently discovered I would be considered an ambivert. Most of my life, I’ve grown up in Gujarat, but I have lived all over India.
What was the story behind your decision to migrate to Canada?
Unlike many others, my decision to move here was not actually planned. I had been working in my field for a few years when I started thinking I needed to continue to pursue my education. I had wanted to pursue my master's degree and then eventually my doctorate. While I was looking at universities in Canada to pursue my master's degree, I decided that I should go for another post-graduate degree before I do my masters here.
What were your expectations before you came to Canada?
I had a vision of coming to Canada to work in my field. My initial expectation was that Canada was very safe for international students and the education here was very good.
Why did you choose to come to Kitchener in Canada?
I have been told that international students in Canada don’t go through many problems, unlike many other countries, so I applied to many programs across Canada, but due to the semester I was applying for [spring[ not so many colleges were accepting. But I happened to be accepted to Conestoga College, so here I am.
Did you travel to Canada alone?
Yes, I did travel to Canada alone, but I met a few people on the way here who I am still connected to. Hopefully, soon, my parents will come to visit me.
What was difficult about moving?
As a single child, it was hard to leave my parents. I would think about them every hour of my life, but I made sure to remind myself that change was necessary and that this was what was best for me and my future. For the first week, it was hard, but then I met some people, and it became a little easier.
What most surprised you when you moved here?
It was my third day in Kitchener, and there was a celebration going on in the park behind me. A group of individuals were celebrating Ridvan and invited me to join them and then invited me to eat dinner with them. I did not realize I would meet people who would be so welcoming as my family would be back home. I have been with them for a few months now, and it has absolutely changed my experience as an immigrant.
What do you miss the most from home?
Aside from my family and friends, I really miss the spicy food and the stray dogs. I used to always play with those stray dogs back home when I was bored, and now, when I have a few minutes to spare there is no one I can play with because it is too much of a commitment for me right now to get a pet.
If you had to give advice to anyone moving for school or work to Canada as an immigrant, what would you say?
First and foremost, it is essential to learn how to live on your own and away from your family because the sudden switch is very difficult. When you move here you will still feel very alone and sad, so it is important to make sure you spend some time visiting the beautiful scenery in Canada.
What do you wish people knew about newcomers?
Not all newcomers are bad. A few of my friends have had bad experiences living here, and I feel quite bad for them. We are all just trying to get a better education or better job and provide for our families.
Is there anything else that you’d like to say?
I wish international students were allowed to work up to 30 hours per week because right now, it is quite low.
I wish there were more support for international students provided by the colleges or the professors. I want my teachers to care more about me and to care about my neighbourhood. There should be more events for neighbourhood children and help them figure out what their path in life should look like. Colleges and universities play a really important role in supporting children and junior youth with their futures.