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Catherine’s Tale    Most recent entry: April 14, 2011

Here is the on-going story of one former Jiangnan University student from Wuxi, China as written in emails to me.
She is now studying at the University of Toronto, Mississauga campus, Canada (see a map of Canada here).

Catherine’s Tale
(in her own words)

August 19, 2009

I've smoothly come to Canada and I've met a few warm-hearted Canadian people. I'm dealing with the damn jet-lag now and am trying to adapt to the food here. It's hard and frustrating but I don't want give up my dreams that easy. I'll keep trying embrace my new life with the highest enthusiasm.

August 20, 2009                                                                  Next

I'm in Toronto now, living with my uncle. He has been in Canada for 7 years, and he help me a lot adapt to life here.

I saw a lot of wild animals here these days, like squirrels, sea- gulls, ducks, which is a rare phenomenon in people's residence areas in China.

The Chinese food here is a little bit wired, not like what I eat everyday in China. My uncle said it's because most of the cook came from Guangdong Province or Hongkong, who have very different tastes and cooking styles. But yesterday I ate my first tasty meal, also cooked by Guangdong cooks. So I guess maybe they can cook something to my taste.

And last night, I had my best sleep in Canada. I think I'm getting used to life here gradually.

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August 25, 2009                                    Previous Entry      Next

I went to downtown two days ago with one of my uncle's friend. She treated me with coffee and some desserts in Tim Hortons. I began to find that food here is so sweet. The chocalate bread's surface is covered with another layer of sugar. I liked sweet food back in China, however, desserts here actually surprised me a little.

The coffee there was not as expensive as I assumed. A cup of medium-sized just cost me $1.80, which excited me a lot, since everything here I found are much more expensive counted as Renminbi except for this.

One of my middle school classmate called me this morning asking me to hang out with her for a few days at her home in Waterloo. And we'll see the Niagara Falls then driving her car. I've been very excited about this.

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August 29, 2009                                    Previous Entry      Next

I just came back from my friend's to my uncle's. It was a wonderful experience.

Catherine and Ripleys Believe it or Not MuseumWe visited Casa Loma, walked along the beach in Toronto downtown, saw the spectacular Niagara Falls and ate Thai Food in Yonge St. Hanging out with my friends and speaking Chinese all the time sometimes made me feel I were still in China . It's very familliar, warm, protected to be with people you've known for years in a strange place. What have I missed most  about China? I think I the answer should be my family, friend and all the people I know. But I think my feeling of belonging gradually grow every day. I walked in the street this morning, seeing people wearing different colors of skins, and began to feel that maybe I'm just a part of them, and I'm not an outsider.

My friend told me her feelings of loneness all these years. Canada is has a huge land, yet has a very small population. The experiences of standing besides a bank of a river or walking in the street with nobody around made her miss the days when a lot of friends play together and even the crowded market back in China. I think loneness maybe one of the problems I'll meet here, too.

The two weeks that I've spent in Canada changed my impression about it little by little. From the first upset about the unfamiliar tastes of food here and ate very little every meal, to gradually appreciating the quietness and neatness of the city, I begin to see its true beauty that really touches my heart.

Guess my new life starts here.

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September 14, 2009                              Previous Entry      Next

School began last week. It was horrorble.

The first class was eco100, Introduction to Economics, something I've already finished in Jiangnan University, in first year. Before the lecture began, I chatted with a local student beside me. I tried to comfort her as someone who has already experienced eco courses because she was nervous about the first class. However, when the lecture ended, I was the one whose hands shivered, holding a note book with several random words some of which I couldn't even recognize. From the beginning of the prof's talking, I felt there was a beeper inside my head. I can hear the voice coming from the prof, but I really had no idea what he was talking about. Was this lecture about economics, something I was as familiar with as my ten fingers? People laughed around me about the prof's funny example. I sat there, pretended to behave as others but not understood a single word of his explanations.

The nightmare didn't end until the afternoon's Calculus of Several Variables. When the lecturer wrote down formulas and draw the coordinate, I breathed out deeply; I finally knew what he was talking about. This course has the most scary name, but it was actually the most understandable lecture for me, as the prof explained theories by drawing graphs on the blackboard, I gradually knew it was about vector, something I learnt in high school.

I decided to pre-read the textbook before attending lectures this week. The situation will turn over I think. Wish myself good luck.

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September 25, 2009                              Previous Entry      Next

The past two weeks were tough yet interesting.

The economics and management classes were still fast and difficult for me. My most scared thing is the i-clicker quiz on eco100. I usually misunderstood the question or even had no idea what they were talking about. But gradually, I realised I'm not alone. Even the local students still thought the questions were tricky, and I often heard other students complaining about the professor went too fast on his lectures. So now I know it's not only my language problem. The course is really hard. And at the same time, sometimes feel my gradual improvement on every class.

Either because I'm not sensitive about English, or I'm too careless, I made mistakes about my class time, missed a quiz for mathematics and went to the wrong classroom once. Yet I'm happy even though I made mistakes, there are always warm hearted people around me helping me, forgiving my mistakes. I went to the prof's office directly when I realised I arrived on the wrong time. He didn't blame me anything and just gave me another chance to make up the exam in his office. And through these days I know one thing, that no matter how poor my English is, or what an important thing I missed, always feel free to talk to someone and they'll always understand me and try to help me find a solution.

There are so many Chinese students in my school. So when walking on campus, I can easily see a lot of Chinese faces and even hear some of them talk in Mandarin. It really made me feel familiar meeting and greeting with people having the same background. But I also warn myself from forming small groups with them cause that will make me comfortable yet always stop me learning skills that I really need to acquire.

Every day is challenging and a little bit stressful, but I still look forward to them. And I believe the day when I really feel involved and belonging is not far away.

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October 7, 2009                                    Previous Entry      Next

I just finished my test week today. I had four tests from last Thursday to this morning. It was really overwhelming. But I'm glad they were all finished. Tests are one significantly different thing I've found here compared with Chinese education system. Students have tests all through the term instead of just having a final one like the case in China. I think it's fairer and can make students really learn something this way, though it sometimes seems like disasters for students.

It rained a lot these days in Mississauga. Sounds a little funny, I just complained to my friend that Canada is so dry that it seldom rains, and I miss the rain in Jiangnan. Then, here came the rain. And it seemed like every time I walked out of a building, it started to rain, and it only ended when I found a shelter. What do I say? Even the rain loves me here.

I'm just gonna have two weeks break before another test week hits. But I learnt my lesson through this round, better study before it's too late. So I'm gonna continue my study now.

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October 25, 2009                                  Previous Entry      Next

I survived another round of tests at the end of this week. And another round is coming the week after the next. I feel really "excited about that". I think I'm gradually getting used to the way of the profs talk in the lectures. Although sometimes I still find the jokes the profs gave kind of hard to understand, and the movie stars, the car brand they mentioned I have never heard before, at least I can take "real" notes now in the lectures, which make me feel secure for the tests.

Lately, I gradually have the feeling that people tend to be who they are eventually. Like I noticed recently that people would like to make groups with people having same racial back grounds after all. When I just came, I feel so excited about the cultural diversity in Toronto.  I saw people with different skin colors walking across the street together, and the way they treated each other naturally without taking notice of their different religions, eating habits, faiths. But after two months of campus life here, the most common scene I saw in school is that the same group of Korean guys show up in the library all the time, the Indians always hang out together after school, and you hear people talking about the class using Mandarin. I really didn't want to see this happen to me when I just came. I had the thought that I should make friends with different cultures and I should never end my social life within a small group of people. But it seem like I formed a study group with five Chinese students and I tend to have natural conversations with people who also speak my mother tongue. As hard as I tried to avoid this, I just feel comfortable with things I'm familiar with, people who can really understands me. Maybe it's just I'm being pessimistic again, but that's just how I feel.

Anyhow, it's really beautiful in autumn of Canada. I love the endless clear blue sky and the beautiful stretching in different shapes. Trees turn into various of colors and you can always feel close to nature by watching your neighbour squirrels showing their big tails and sometimes a deer stopping you in the way. A little pity is that I cannot walk to school all the time and enjoy the scenery as long as I can, frequent rounds of tests remind me to study really hard. Yeah, it's time I should prepare for my Calculus of Several Variables.
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October 31, 2009                                  Previous Entry      Next

I'm sorry I can only write email to you like once a week. I'm still struggling from finding more time besides study to do something that I like.

Actually, I met some non-Chinese in the beginning of school. We had good time together. I had the feeling that we might become good friends or something, and I began dreaming that maybe that's just a start, and I can meet more later in school. But it turned out that they were the only non-Chinese that I'm a little bit familiar with. And as school work became more and more stressful. I hang out more with Chinese students since we could communicate better, and share more things.

Getting more involved in school activities is an efficient way to know more people. The only problem is that now I couldn't find enough time to spend on that. And it may sound silly, but actually, on the club week, I saw a lot of clubs I didn't even find (or couldn't understand) their names. So I had merely any idea what they were really about, and I lack the courage to ask them face by face. That's the other reason why I didn't make a membership.

While I found so many things that people in Canada do differently, I also found more in common. Students also worry about exams here. Classes always tend to be quiet and shy. Seats in libraries are always occupied by staff not people. It's kind of weird to find familiar things in a strange place where you expected things should be different.

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November 6 & 7, 2009                          Previous Entry      Next

Nov 6
I just had three tests yesterday and this week.

But this is not the only thing I'm worried about. I guess almost all foreign students or immigrants have had the similar bad experiences in the early period when they just arrive in a new country and had to rent a room without full consideration about the room or the ethics of the landlord. I've watched a few movies or TV shows about the misery life of Chinese students living abroad. Some of them had to live in basement without heating in winter. Some got cheated by the landlords and were not able to fight for their rights. But never have had deep feelings about that until recently my own landlady showed her true face.

Actually, I've never had experience with someone who is so mean to me before.  I guess this the other course I'm learning in Canada: society. Maybe this is the first lesson I've been taught, the first mean person I meet.  I know there are more and more similar situations waiting for me. But I just feel awful about this first experience.

Nov 7
Maybe I was a little bit overreacted. It's just that my landlady turned to be very impatient and even ignore us after we moved in for a while, not the friendly and warm-hearted woman when we first met. Almost her whole time was occupied by changing the balcony beside my bedroom into another bedroom for rent, and after that trying to find a new person to live in and pretending to be nice to him, totally ignoring our agreement of just four girls students living in the unit by adding two more men without even asking us.

It took her almost a month to change our original dark light bulb into a brighter one after our requests about our needs to study under a healthy light. And after she removed the heating in my room to move it into the balcony room without even asking me, I was pushed to the edge.

So I told her that I planned to move. She seemed very unhappy about that. She never answered my phone calls. Then yesterday she called me with just one sentence: that I should move out by the end of this month, which is a week before my full month rent period. I thought she must have found a new person willing to move in. I felt so terrible. And this was happening just 40 minutes before my math test. And I got a very important letter from the school and I needed to get it from our mutual mailbox which she (the landlady) is the only one who has the key, but she never picks up my phone or responds to my voice message. I got no way to deal with that, and it was just a long nightmare yesterday.

But it's better now. My uncle talked to her last night and she and her father seem to be politer to me now. All I wish is to find a nice room quickly and move out without any trouble.

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November 15, 2009                              Previous Entry      Next

I've found a nice room in a house. My roomies are gonna be one other UTM student and a Chinese family. I've already talked to my present landlady and I'm gonna move at the end of this month. Hope it's gonna be a nice experience.

I've been worried a lot about the tests and the housing thing lately. A little bit stressed and tired. So yesterday I went to a party with my friends trying to relax and to have some fun. It was actually my first party. I was quite looking forward to it. But honestly, I was a little bit disappointed. It was kinda like New Year's Eve party. A few shows and some games lack of participation, and later on , just dancing. Actually, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I think I just didn't had much fun last night. Anyway, I'm attending a banquet next Wednesday. Now, I'm a little bit nervous but quite excited about the up coming first real banquet for me like the scenes from movies. Hope it won't disappoint me this time.

I read the web page of Dean [Editor’s note: the page is on this site: Prepare to Study Abroad]. I think it's such a good thing for student who are all preparing to go abroad to have more opportunities to communicate. The information they share and the support they are being for each other are gonna be a big big help for them. I was hoping to have someone in my own university to share our experience when I was preparing to go to U of T. It was a pity I didn't find one. But now I'm glad someone did and you helped them to let their stories known. Please let me know if I can in some way help Dean and his fellow partners.

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November 20, 2009                              Previous Entry      Next

The Chinese family have been in Canada for several years. And the other UTM student is also Chinese, which I felt is a little pity, since that means I'm gonna lose the chance to live with people with different cultural backgrounds and a good opportunity also to practice my oral English.

I just came from the banquet last night. It was kinda helpful for me to start practicing networking with business people in Canada. It was a business banquet, held by the Undergraduate Commerce Society of UTM, aiming to give Commerce students an opportunity to learn business etiquette and to meet potential recruiters and other business people from the financial industry. Though due to my still adjusting English listening, I grasped maybe just one third of what the guest speakers' speeches and the lecture about dining etiquette, I still thought it's was helpful since at least it was my first step in my business social life.

Having the whole process of housing problem and the on going tests and quizzes almost drove me crazy these days. I began to feel a little bit of home sick and subconsciously saw everything around me pessimistically. I doubted about the true meaning about life again like I usually did when I had experienced the low-spirited periods of life cycle. But this time I kinda feel more guilty, since I shouldn't be like this. I live in my own separate bedroom and enjoy the whole living facilities I'd never even thought about when I lived in the four-people dormitory back in Jiangnan University; I'm being educated in one of the world most exclusive advanced educational institutions; I breathe the cleaner air and use more "elegant" washrooms; I'm living the life that almost all the people back in China would look forward to; I'm with the dream of my whole family thousands of miles away and I assume my life here has been a main and pleasant topic for them since I left; most importantly, I'm burning my parents whole life savings in a rather swift rate. After all these, I should have enjoyed life a hundred times than I do now, not only for me, at least for my family, but unfortunately, I just don't, and even worse, I began to doubt about the decision I made one year ago whether it's worth it considering all the costs I've already paid and am gonna pay. But I know for sure I'm not gonna quit.

Being an international student abroad is indeed torturing sometimes, and you can not feel it just from others talking about it. Only when you live overseas alone for a while can you have deep feelings about it.

Don't worry about me, I'm just being cynic for a while. I'll be fine and alive soon.

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November 25, 2009                              Previous Entry      Next

I can't say I feel great now, since I still need time to recover, but I guess I'm just being in a low period, which regularly happens in every person's life. I'll just let it be and try to do well in things that I should do.

It's Christmas season already. Just like the thrilling period before Chinese New Year, I can sense the holiday smell everywhere I go. Besides the bus numbers and lines, the small screens on buses also show "Merry Christmas" nowadays, despite the fact that Christmas day is still one month away. I heard on the radio the other day that now it's the women who are the busiest people who shop and pick Christmas gifts for their family. That just reminds me of the scene that Moms back in China are busy shopping and preparing for the New Year Goods (mostly food and decorations). The only different is that Dads help too. A more similar scene happens in the kitchen, when all the wives are busy preparing the food but their husbands eating happily in company with the kids and guests, the women usually cannot help complaining about the fact that men does nothing but eat, leaving them being the busiest people in the family. It seems that men and women's discrepancy on family chores are common issues in both eastern and western families, and holidays don't ever let them agree more.

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December 8, 2009                                Previous Entry      Next

I experienced my first snow in Canada. It was with small pieces of snowflake, already melted before touching the ground, a little bit like the snow in Wuxi. My local friend said the "real snow" is on the way.

It's exam period now, and I just came from one. (Weirdly lasting two hours from 8 pm to 10 pm.) I've been crazy preparing for the exams and will keep doing till 16th. And then my winter vacation comes, Christmas, New Year. It sounds weird but I'm not really feel excited about the break, nor the holiday. Maybe it was just because I'm still not have much deep feelings related to the western holiday. All I think about is that I can't come home on Chinese Spring Festival. For the first time, I'm gonna celebrate our traditional holiday, our most important day in a year in a strange place, alone.

I watched a movie called New Moon last week in the Cineplex. Maybe it was I haven't watched a film in a cinema for a long time, I was not used to the loud sound effect when the movie went on. My friend besides me said I was too sensitive. Yeah, maybe I was, for a lot of things, like the blue mood these days. I've been feeling down for a while, and I'm tired of cheering myself up after so many trials and so many friends' warm regards. I remember being in the same condition when I just entered university in China. I felt lonely and unsafe for three days since it was my first time to live outside of my home. But it just lasted for three days before I started to make friends with my roomies and began to feel belonging to the new room and new school. I don't know why I'm just so tired of speaking to strangers and starting to make new friends here to make myself feel belonging too. And as my English improved little by little, I'm even tired of speaking English now with stuff in the supermarket as practice. Am I in the downturn of my new life in a foreign country? Why does it take so long? I wish it could end soon cause it really kills me.

I moved to my new "home" last weekend. The new owner's family are very friendly. It's actually a three-generation family with a grandma and a little daughter only three years old. I admire them very much since the family union, although  they themselves might feel lonely as well sometimes because they have only each other with little outside socializing.

I actually feel better after writing this long email. Maybe I was being pessimistic for a while, like my old tradition.

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December 21, 2009                              Previous Entry      Next

It's been my fourth day of my winter vacation. School ended quite peacefully, with all the exams not so sophisticated. Whatever the results are, I'm just happy they' are all over.

I was very occupied trying to find a job for the holiday time in the first day of my vacation, since I don't feel like celebrating the holiday I barely have emotion at, and I wanted to escape from the scenes of family gathering with myself being alone. I think the best way to kill time and not feel bored is to try to communicate with people and get busy. And importantly, I can earn some money to feel a little bit helpful for my awfully high tuitions. But it seems like all the places still open for the holidays have already got helpers a period ago. I left my phone number to two restaurants and was told to have some work when asked.

The rest of the days, just shopping. For the first time in Canada, I saw the crowded scene in the malls, just like the usual ways of Chinese supermarket on weekends. Everywhere you go, you see happy faces and occupied hands with shopping bags. The big "sale" and "50% off" signs in front of the doors of shops really cheered me up. I went to the Mississauga shopping centre every afternoon these days, and spent more than $200 there. I've heard of people saying about the crazy shopping scene on the boxing day. I'm now sensing the heat of the boxing week. (Still don't know why people call it "boxing") The huge discounts really encourage your shopping initiative and it seems like everything now is a good deal. If not considering the currency exchange rate, I really planned to buy a few hundred more~~

The temperature outdoor is very low now; the lowest can be -15 degrees. But it's hard to feel the change cause it's always warm inside or on the bus, the few minutes of walk outside cannot chill you. I even consider it's easier life here in winter than in Wuxi because of the heating.

Anyway, happy holidays!

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May 08, 2010                                        Previous Entry      Next

I'm on a break between the spring/summer terms. Next Monday, my summer term will begin.

My second term was not bad. I got more and more used to the life in the suburb Canada. The nine days of reading week break, after all my first round of tests, happening to be around the Chinese New Year, was perfect. I went to one of my middle school classmate's home to celebrate, which was my most bustling days since I came to Canada, and spent some time on my own video- chatting with my family online and watching the Spring Festival Gala and stuff, trying to sense the festival atmosphere again like in China.

New experiences? Yeah. I went to the counselling centre in school this term, partly wanting to get some support for my sucking boring life, well mainly just to experience the therapy (it's for free anyway). But I felt even worse after the counsellor threw me some "challenging questions" that I out of no reason cried during the therapy, which I didn't plan to honestly. So I decided not to follow up a second round of counselling for the feeling of both mine and the counsellor’s. I guess it's sometimes just better to keep some of the feelings to your own; telling it to a therapist meaning admitting it as a sickness might make you feel even worse.

Surely there were some wonderful experiences. The preparation for Rez PAL (peer academic leader) really warmed me up. Although the interviews were challenging and I didn't finally make to through the final round, I was still grateful for knowing there being such excellent people public skills and pleasant personalities which encouraged me to pursue my own happy lifestyle.  Similar encouragement came to me recently from a pair of Chinese twin girls, who are with optimistic attitudes and competence of well using their confidence.

I started to go to the gym and the swimming pool this semester and found it actually not that stressing as I expected. Being able to exercise, lose weight and kill time just make it my personal favourite nowadays during the vacation.

The new discovery I found recently about the local Canadian people is that a lot of them are really lack of knowledge about China and east Asia. The interesting thing I noticed when I was in the public library the other day is that people actually have more access to the Tibetan culture than the Chinese. Not only do they consider Tibet as a separate country of China, they also give titles to Dalai Lama as a honorable leader, a wise thinker and a famous writer. As I've received the Chinese education for years but barely touched anything about the North American theories of Asian politics, it might be biased if I judge things through information only from one side, but I really believe in the necessity for all to know more about the outside world trying to avoid their own thinking style.

I just moved to a new place last weekend. This time it's the previous house needs major repair. You were right saying that wherever in the world, there are always mean people waiting to take advantage of you. I'm very lucky that I only encounter that kind of people for once. Both my second and third landladies are very nice people and my housing situation is pretty good.

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Expanding on a few things from the last message

May 11, 2010                                        Previous Entry      Next

The Rez PAL is short for Residence Peer Academic Leader. Every year, UTM recruit around 15 upper year students from different department to form this Rez PAL team trying to help new comers to UTM who live in rez (residence) to successfully transform from high school to university. The PAL's job mainly focus on helping students academically. As they were recruited from different departments, they will be asked to take around 20 students from their own department, and hold around 16 seminars all year round with topics from course selecting to health care. There is another title called Rez Don, who are in charge of new rez's everyday life.

I live with another Chinese family. It's also a townhouse with nice neighbourhoods. The landlord family are pretty nice. They treated me lunch last weekend. I'm pretty well settling in. I moved here since the previous house need major repair, I couldn't have shower if I stayed. The new place is even closer to my school and since we have to pay higher commuting fees in summer I decided I just walk to school instead. 20 minutes walk can be considered a morning wake-up and also a close to nature exercise (since I'll walk pass the woods)~

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October 12, 2010                                  Previous Entry      Next

I stayed in Canada for summer school this year; just to makeup the lost credits caused by the whole transfer credit thing (after summer school I've only needed two regular academic years to graduate). Now I've been back to the U of T for a month. I'm also working in the library starting from this semester. I like my job; it's basically half customer service and half book-shelving. I like the atmosphere there and I get to practice my oral English, and besides, this is my first paid job$$$~~

I moved to this new townhouse living with another Chinese family in May (since the previous landlord family had to redecorate their house). Fortunately, my two landlords after the first evil one are pretty nice people, and I've founded very good relationships with them~

I quite enjoyed my peaceful life here. I began to feel more belonged and involved to Canadian. I still miss the Chinese delicacies though, I can see my first year in Canada's loneliness and sadness gradually disappear. I would consider a longer even a permanent life here after graduate if someone asks, instead of a firm rejection. Now I can sit down and think about the comparison of the two countries calmly instead of just being angry and sad. I like the peaceful environment and friendly relationships between people in Canada; I'm not sure if I'll still get these if I go back to China someday~

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January 3, 2011                                    Previous Entry      Next

Today is my last day of my winter break. I can't believe it, but school begins tomorrow~ I basically relaxed myself by sleeping for two thirds of the break and did some shopping for the rest looking for gifts for my family when I go back to China in the coming summer.

My first semester seemed easy and everything was perfect in the begining; then I struggled a little bit in the middle for my five consecutive mid-terms during November; I totally struggled in the end for five finals in 7 days, and the marks ended bad. Anyways, I'll try to readjust my learning style and utilize my balance between study and work next semester.

Talking about the experience I had in the second year, I actually found it a little bit different, since I get more and more experienced in the life here, At the same time, as I began to make money from my library job, I started to consume more often, and bought some luxurious goods, like Starbucks coffee. Also, since I only have roughly two years of study till I graduate in the beginning of this semester, I need to start looking for internships opportunities at the same time. So the employment pressure is on me now.

I always envy you guys in universities in China; you can have such a long winter break, and the Spring Festival is included. We had a 9 days of reading break which exactly covered the Spring Festival last year, but we are not that lucky this year.

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January 7, 2011                                    Previous Entry     Next

I'm pretty busy these days after school began, kinda still in the holiday state since I still struggled to get up early in the morning, but all the courses are already in the serious track and all the classes I'm taking this semester seem pretty challenging for me~

I think the change I felt from my first year in Canada should be good overall; or I'm just getting used to this lifestyle in Canada. Sometime I even worry if I will feel uncomfortable when I go back to China in several years.

My internship could be either way [in Canada or China], but since I'm planning to work for a few years in Canada after I graduate from the U of T, I prefer to have some Canadian internship experience before hand, or if I can find some real good internship opportunities in China with a world-wide organization, that'll be fine too, lol~~

Yeah, Spring Festival without family could be a little bit painful, while somehow I've survived once. Plus two Christmas I spent here watching happy families enjoying the holiday joy together, I guess I'm some kind of immuned from the homesickness. Unless it's my very sensitive time, I just wouldn't get very emotional that often.

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February 2, 2011                                    Previous Entry     Next

新年快乐!(ed. - xin nian kuai le -- Happy New Year!) Well I have to say this is the busiest Chinese New Year I've ever had. I have three assginments due and two quizzes this week by Thursday, and three mid-terms coming! Just hope there will be a storm tomorrow, so that at least I have a day off from school and my quizzes get cancelled!

In another email later the same day:

Severe Weather Closes U of T Mississauga
Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2011
6 a.m.

Best New Year gifts I've ever got!

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April 14, 2011                                    Previous Entry

Finished my fourth exam yesterday! Now I'm just waiting to get my last exam on 20th, and getting prepared to go back home for the first time since I landed in Canada in 2009!!!

This semester, school get a little bit more challenging, with most of the courses being advanced third/ fourth year finance courses. After all the tears and blood on all those assignments, projects, quizzes, tests, exams... I finally could take my breath back, and feel a little bit relieved.

I'm still looking for a summer internship with commerce related experiences. I'm open for internships in either Canada or China, and hopefully I'll finally secured one in this four month~ This has been harder than I originally thought to find a job in Canada, and the unique cultural background "advantage" I considered it to be became just my language barrier. Not just for international students, but for a lot of finance new graduates this year, it's not that easy to secure a position while still in school; being international just makes it even less possible. But it's still not a mission impossible. I've met a Chinese friend lately who has been in Canada for only 3 years, with barely any English background when he first came; now he speaks fluent English with a decent bank job waiting for him to graduate. All he emphasized to me is be brave and open to any opportunities you encounter. Fortune counts too, for sure.

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Photos from Catherine

In my apartmentIn Catherine's apartment

University of Toronto LogoUniversity of Toronto logo

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Kaneff Centre – a U of T Teaching Building
Kaneff Centre - a Univerity of Toronto Teaching Building

University of Toronto Dining Hall
University of Toronto Dining Hall - inside

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Our Flyer Wall
A wall of flyers

Bus stop on campus
             (I wait here at least once a day)
Bus stop on campus

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U of T Mississauga sign in fall
U of T Mississauga sign in fall

U of T Mississauga Campus in fall
U of T Mississauga Campus in fall

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