Ready to Fly!

Ready to Fly!

By Vy Vy Vinh Nguyen, CIS Alumni Class of 2015, student of Concordia University, Quebec, Canada

Hi CISS-ers! My name is Vy Vy, and I am a CIS Alumni from Class of 2015. I am currently double-majoring in Human Relations and Communications at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec. Going into my final year at Concordia, I have learned a few tricks to get the best out of university life that will be useful for future international students in Canada.

 Vy Vy,  CIS Alumni from Class of 2015, student at Concordia University in Montréal, Québec

Tip #1: It’s OK to change your mind

At the end of high school, everyone seems to expect you to know exactly what you want to do with your life. Take your time! When you’re “shopping” for schools and choosing your major from across the globe, it is hard to truly know which direction is 100% suitable for you. Once you get to experience your first year studying abroad, you will have insights about the program you chose, the city you are living in, the school where you are enrolled - and if something is not for you, don’t be afraid to change! Degree transfers or adding another major/minor to your degree can happen regularly in college life. Academic counselors can help you with these types of transitions. The important thing is to find something compatible with your interests and your capabilities.


  Tip #2: Reach out to your professors

In university, classes can collect  as many as 400 students in one, single large auditorium. Unlike high school where teachers and students get to interact on a one-to-one basis, your instructors might seem a bit distant, literally and figuratively. One of the things that surprises me most is how friendly and understanding professors can be! They genuinely want you to succeed - as long as you put in the work. So don’t be afraid to contact them when you have questions or are feeling unwell. For legitimate reasons, a professor can give you extension on an assignment, or give you extra help for the upcoming exam.

Tip #3: Have a hobby!

In high school, you meet friends by taking the same classes with them. In university, that is not necessarily the case, since schedules are more flexible and the departments are much larger. Sometimes, you can make lots of good friends by joining a club. Having quality time with others is one sure way to make friends throughout your entire university years and beyond. Joining Concordia Dragon Boat Club has been a wonderful experience for me. I have come to know my fellow paddlers through training, and even in contests against our “archnemesis” Dragon Boat Z team from McGill University.


Vy Vy and  Concordia Dragon Boat Club. 

Tip #4: Take advantage of your school’s available resources

A lot of your tuition will be going into services that are free for students! Doing some research on the resources available at your school of choice is extremely useful. One of my favourites at Concordia is renting  textbooks from the course reserves to do my reading for the week. With the help from the course reserves, I do not have to drag 100kg or $1,000 worth of books or equipment from home to school and back. I just need to show my ID card, the library will lend me everything I need. Even iPhone chargers!