2 0 1 0 年八月中旬，我怀着既兴奋又紧张的心情来到加拿大，兴奋是因为终于可以一尝独立生活的滋味，紧张是因为即使是期待已久的生活，面前还是有很多的未知数， 因此在对未来抱着憧憬之外还夹杂着一丝丝的忐忑。如今转眼快三年了，确实，在加拿大的这几年我面对了很多在学业和生活上前所未见的挑战，但值得感恩的是在面对这些挑战的同时，我也获得了很多难能可贵的经验。 由于在国内念高中时是在美式学制下完成的，所以日常生活和学业上并没有太大的语言障碍，也很快便认识了不少新同学，和宿舍里的舍友們也相處得非常融洽，加上第一年我被安排在学校里其中一个国际宿舍(International Dorm)，所以更能体会到不同的文化，但这也意味着彼此之间潜在的文化差异。
对此我从经验中学会了包容， 并常常保持乐观幽默的学习心态来对待文化差异，有不理解的地方不要怕问，其中一点我很欣赏北美文化的是他们鼓励大小事都拿出来商量，这是一个很好的方法来学习不仅是北美文化，但也包括其他的文化。在此我也鼓励北美的学生不要怕和海外同学交流，虽然语言和文化的障碍也许会使沟通不容易，但如果付出了耐心和关怀的话，我相信没有什么障碍是克服不了的， 再者，海外同学在这里其中一个最大的目的就是文化上的体验，因此纵使我们很多时候也害怕语言不流利或生活不适应，但如果你们能尽量帮助我们，不仅会使我们更享受和融入在异邦的生活，也让大家在TWU里获得很宝贵的文化交流和学习经。
In the middle of August 2010, I came to Canada with mixed feelings of excitement and anxiousness. I could hardly contain my excitement because I was finally getting a taste of independence. It was like a dream come true, but one that contained many unknown factors.
Indeed, I have faced a lot of new challenges in terms of adjusting to a new school system and to an unfamiliar environment. Nevertheless, I am thankful for the valuable experience I am able to gain from these challenges.
I graduated from a high school in China that used an American curriculum, so language was not much of a barrier in daily life and school. Friends also came by fairly quickly, as being placed in an international dorm on campus was also a blessing.
My RA was an international student from China, and very helpful in giving advice on adjusting to university life in Canada. Her caring and loving ways make her a good role model and mentor for any new student.
But being in an international dorm also exposed me to different cultures, along with barriers caused by cultural differences. For instance, many cultures have hidden or parallel meanings that one can only fully understand when they know the culture. An Asian would usually hide their true feelings of fear so they wouldn’t appear impolite or disrespectful. Such feelings in Asian cultures are only revealed through patience and genuine friendship.
Other misunderstandings between international students and North American students often come from different living habits that are simply due to a lack of understanding of each other’s culture.
I found that Canadian culture encourages talking things over to directly resolve conflicts. This is something many Asian cultures are unfamiliar with. Therefore, I truly encourage international students to not shy away from asking North American students about things they do not understand. At the same time, I also encourage North American students to be courageous in talking to international students, despite cultural and language barriers.
Other than enriching ourselves in studies and equipping ourselves for the life ahead, another reason international students are here is to learn and experience various cultures. From experience, I can say that I have gained so much from having friends of various cultures that enrich my own life tremendously.
Adjusting to the language and new lifestyle with the help of local students make our experiences memorable and unforgettable. Nothing comes easy these days; even more so the understanding of different peoples and cultures. But usually, the things that are obtained through acceptance, perseverance, and authenticity are things that are treasured for life.
Let’s celebrate the open cross-cultural environment that we have at Trinity Western University and enrich each other’s lives through a better understanding of each other.
If you’re interested in foreign cultures or getting involved with international events on campus check out twu.ca/life/community/international or email the International Student Programs at matthew. email@example.com