Learning To Stand On My Own Two Feet

Learning To Stand On My Own Two Feet

By Nguyen Thanh Huy - CIS Alumni, Western Technical Commercial, Canada

I’ve always been a carefree person, doing what I wish and neglecting how it could affect people around me. Now for the first time the only person I can rely on is me.

During my time in CIS I made a lot of friends and I had the chance to discover myself and do things I’d never thought i would do. Last year was my final year before going abroad. I was scared yet excited, but mostly scared since for the first time in my life I would have to become independent and take responsibility.

Life in Canada is so different from back home but in a way it was refreshing to be able to just go anywhere so quickly with just a metro pass - even though I got lost and had to spend four hours on the first day getting back to my homestay.

I live with an African-Canadian family. I am very fortunate to stay with Mr. Michael and Ms. Andnet. They were once foreigners in Canada. They both left home at around the age of 16 due to war. I can imagine they know exactly how it feels to be a teenager setting foot in a country that’s so different from yours. They are very kind and offer to help me in anyway they can to settle in and be comfortable.

As time passes I grow more familiar with Canada and I am starting to enjoy what it has to offer: its tall skyscrapers, its diverse welcoming community and its fast accessible transit system - I have never felt so free and confident in my life.

To my surprise school here resembles CIS in so many ways and in some ways is even better. I’ve never liked English before but Mr. Bailey has changed that: he has a very comical and amusing voice that you would find everything he says very entertaining and that’s how I’m able to pay attention in his class. I remember once when he sat down for five minutes and listened to the idea in a section of my essay where he couldn’t understand what I was talking about. He helped me re-phrase that part.

When I first came to school I was scared that I would be discriminated against and be bullied but once I began people were surprisingly friendly and outgoing. They made me feel welcome and I was able to make two new friends named Yeno, a Hungarian-Canadian who also plays the piano like me and an Indian international student, Fahad. Aside from my friends that came along with me from CIS, I have also met a group of international Vietnamese students and we usually eat lunch and play UNO together in the cafeteria.

Outside of school my friends and I also sometimes visit our old teachers from CIS who have returned to Canada. This reminds me of the good times at CIS.

The city has also brought me a lot of inspiration. In my free time I have started arranging and composing songs and tracks for fun whereas before all I did was play video games. Though it is not a life that is as relaxing and privileged life as it once was, I can’t complain about my life here.

I do miss home sometimes and I am longing for the day I return but I also know that this travel was a necessity for my maturity and growth. I am not seeing life through my parent’s eyes but my own. Though some old habits are still alive like arriving late to class, or procrastinating about what my next step will be, which university or college to go to… I do know that studying abroad was the right step for me!