Nathaneal is an Environment student in his 3A term. He is also one of the 2020 International Live Chat hosts. Here is what he had to say about his experience at Waterloo.
Why did you choose the University of Waterloo?
I choose Waterloo for the co-op opportunities. Also, I knew it has a reputable Computer Science program.
When you received your offer of admission, how did you celebrate your success?
It was funny, I was in my high school physics class and I felt sad because all of my friends were getting their offers, but I hadn't received mine yet. That's when I received the email with my offer of admission from Waterloo. I forgot I was in class and shrieked with excitement. Everyone in class stared at me!
Before you arrived, what worried you about coming?
I was worried about my ascent and pronunciation of words, but I took an English class when I came to school and I spoke slowly for people to understand me.
What did you expect Canada and the University of Waterloo to be like?
For the most part, it was what I expected. University was great cause I came earlier for Orientation. But, what caught me off guard was winter in Canada. That part I hated because I didn't know it was that cold here.
Was there anything that surprised you? How so?
Yes, the geese. The large amount of geese was super scary, so I always stayed clear of them. Also, the workload form school was a lot. I thought first year would be a piece of cake, but it wasn't.
Were there any highlights to your first term at Waterloo?
Many. Firstly, I have a boy group and we call ourselves the Jiggy Boys. We met in residence and I had a really great time with them hanging out, running to V1 to get cafeteria food. We're still friends to this day. Another highlight was becoming the intramurals champions in the Futsal league.
Did you face any challenges in your first year? If so, how did you overcome them?
I faced a bit; one was the change in weather because I came from Nigeria, which is a humid place. I've also lived in England, but even living there I had never experienced the cold like in Waterloo. You definitely need good winter clothes.
Also, in my academics, my professors quickly wrote notes and skipped through slides, and I found it hard to understand. So after each lecture, I would go to the library to revisit what the professor taught in class.
What main differences have you noticed between your home culture and Canadian culture?
The way people look at me and make horrible assumptions. I never received stares back home in Nigeria. When that happens, I remind myself that I can’t control what other people do or think. I talk to my friends and family who are there for me through thick and thin. They remind me of who I am and my purpose for being here.
If you were arriving as a new international student again, what would you do differently, or the same?
I would be bolder and try not to conform my identity to any other person.
What is one piece of advice you would share with new Waterloo students?
Be yourself and ask for help when you need it, especially from your TA's.
What has your experience of studying online been like during COVID-19?
Honestly, it's been a challenge to do work at home and not procrastinate. Time management is really important in University so you have to stay-on-top of your assignments and daily life.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
Yes, when you get here do not let your grades define who you are and be open to discussions with people. You'll find out about different cultures and ways of life.