“This isn’t what we signed up for.” Two BCIT international students speak on the harsh reality of living here

THE FORESTS ARE LITERALLY BURNING

Beautiful BC is on fire. Last year, temperatures reached 50 degrees Celsius and the province recorded over 1,600 fires. Karim Raafat, a BCIT student from Egypt, is deciding to go back home for the summer to experience more temperate weather.

“We thought we’d get beautiful mountains, forests, and crystal-clear lakes. Instead we got heat, fire and floods. This isn’t what we signed up for.”

—Karim Raafat, a BCIT student from Egypt

AND WHAT’S UP WITH FOOD HERE?

Most countries have rich and diverse cuisines spanning centuries. Some even have strong street food cultures where it’s easy to get cheap, healthy meals any time of the day.

Here you get A&W.

Thankfully, Vancouver is home to many pseudo-authentic restaurants. Lots of us miss our hometown dishes. It’s great to have local restaurants representing different foods from around the world but it’s just not the same as those back home.

“Can someone please tell me what Canadian food is? Poutine and maple syrup? Okay, but what actually is the CUISINE of this nation? Food doesn’t have to be bland. Use more spices. Trust me. They make food taste good.”

—Jiyeong Hong, a BCIT student from South Korea

For many international students, Canada is seen as a symbol of hope and freedom.

Arriving here is a life goal that takes many years to achieve. It’s a long road to establish yourself here and an even longer one to truly feel at home.

But we do it because of the opportunities that aren’t available back home. And not to mention, the whole freedom to be yourself thing is pretty sweet.