#InternationalLooLife - From India to Waterloo

I am from India. Even though my Mother tongue is Hindi, my first language is English. I am exceptionally proficient in it and think in English all the time. I grew up reading Western Literature and listened to Linkin Park songs with my Dad. At the same time, I was terrible at Hindi - even though my grandmother was a Hindi Professor! I guess you could say that I was more connected to the culture and language of the West than anywhere else. So, ever since I was in 9th grade, I knew I had to go abroad and study. This equal, opportunity-providing, developed world was waiting for me!

Kartiki in Indian attire

I'll be honest, my first month was not exactly what I thought it would be. Here are some things no one tells you about the 'international student struggles':

  1. You may probably never stop converting dollars into your own currency, which makes you feel your bank account will be empty within a week.

  2. When writing the date, you will get confused about whether the day comes first or the month.

  3. You will probably be too late in realizing that your hair straightener will not work because of the difference in voltage. (It's 120V in Canada, friends!)

  4. You may be happy taking out $10 to pay for your Shawarma, but your happiness is short-lived because the cashier will ask for $11.30, which you don't have. You will thus learn the phenomenon called PRE -TAX.

  5. You will still get confused with your postal code and the mix letters and the numbers.

But you know what? This experience will be one of the best professors you will get. This could not be a more perfect time to adult and be your own person. I reminded myself that compared to the 5 years I will spend at the University of Waterloo, it's only been a few weeks! I am slowly and steadily regaining my confidence. I know more about my residence, UWP. I am learning how to cook (now people come to my apartment to eat!). I go for late night chilly walks with my friends in some of the most beautiful places on campus. And, I've found the best dorm hack: I made my room happy (decor and disco lights!). By making it feel like home, it's a place like coming back to every day.

Kartiki's roomDisco light

So, if you're an international student like me, motivate yourself to take part in the myriad events and activities that the University organizes for you. Your immersion into this new big world will be slow, but it will surely happen. Till then hang tight, and keep looking out for #InternationalLooLife!