Jin is an international student who entered Langara College's Arts and Science University Transfer Program after completing the school's STEP and LEAP English Language programs. Here she tells of her experience taking Canadian college classes.
"I was surprised to be in class with Canadians. They seemed very smart, so I was afraid of just being in the class with them. But I could understand what my instructor was talking about during the class and I got better and better at participating in the class to the point where I could have discussions with classmates. Sometimes midterms, especially essay-based exams, were very hard and I couldn't reach the average score of the class.
Whenever I didn't feel comfortable with my score or class work, I didn't hesitate to talk to and get help from the International Education (IE) Office. The best advice from the IE office was to talk to my instructors. All of the instructors I have met were very friendly and kind. When I had a problem with taking lecture notes in my sociology class during my first semester, I talked to my instructor and she helped me by introducing a classmate who could take lecture notes instead of me so that I could just concentrate on listening and understanding the lecture. I found the courses easy when I took them with my friends. We could make study groups and study together. But I couldn't take the same classes with my friends all the time, so I tried to make friends or get help from other classmates. I tried not to miss classes. When I did miss a class, I didn't want to go to class the next day. Even though I was really tired and sleepy, I felt I was wasting all the money my father sent me for tuition. And the classes were obviously important to take.
Volunteering with the IE Office
My family is very proud of me that I have grown to become a successful college student in Canada. I still have a long way to go and many obstacles to overcome. My university degree and the world are waiting for me and, thanks to Langara, I am now ready."
I often reminisce about my difficulties when I got to Vancouver. I didn't have any friends and was always lonely without my family. Now I feel a lot better because I have made many friends and know what I can do to have fun. But I realized that many new international students are also lonely and looking for help, and I wanted to be the one who could encourage them and say, "Don't give up. Suffer now and succeed later!" So, I applied to be a volunteer in the IEVP (International Education Volunteer Program) and now I am one of the lucky few who were selected. I really love meeting new people – especially STEP and LEAP students who want to learn English. I like encouraging them by sharing my experiences so that they become sure that they can do it, too.