Pre-departure & immediate arrival in Canada

By Lola Bianchi, University of Guelph, Canada

So I started writing this blogpost about 10 days before I arrived and my pre-departure experience was one which was very stressful. The closer it got to the flying date, the more apprehensive I became. 

I was so excited to go this whole year however the final two weeks and the end of summer sprung up out of nowhere and consequently triggered all the pre-leaving anxieties at once, as the realisation that I was moving to the other side of the world was something I had properly internalised and understood what it would really mean. A lot of my anxieties surrounded my previous university experiences as I had quite a rocky start to university and really struggled with feeling alone in the first few weeks of first year. Consequently, I left feeling incredibly nervous about repeating the social climate I was in then, and given that I will be living not just on the other side of the country but rather the other side of the world, it’s a tad more daunting move than coming to uni was.

There was also a lot of steps in getting my Canadian visa and sorting flights/luggage etc. which I feel contributed to the added stress and worries about leaving as there are multiple hoops you have to jump through and it feels incredibly complicated at every step. However, that might just be how sorting visas are worldwide, regardless of the host destination. I think it’s important to emphasise how sad and stressed I was in the leaving period. I had finally started to feel settled in Manchester and given that I have struggled with mental health issues throughout my life, I was worried that going abroad could be triggering or just make me feel worse about things, more than the good I would get from it. However, having now been here a few days I feel less worried about how the year will play on.

There are lots of surprising culture shocks which I wouldn’t have expected from Canada and everyone is incredibly friendly, but I am yet to meet people who I would say are similar to me. Obviously that’s not to say that I haven’t met some wonderful and lovely people, but the Guelph seems to be a place that has more small town vibes and coming from Manchester, that’s not necessarily the kind of vibe I gravitate towards. There is also a lot of 17 & 18 year olds as the university age of Canada is lower, so I am also struggling to find people of my age on campus but again am hoping that by the time everyone has properly moved in and classes have started I will be able to find some people more similar to me.

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