Living: Focus on Youth

L’amoreaux Youth Advisory Council Journalists:
Melissa Huang & Fiona Cheng

The L’ Amoureaux Youth Advisory Council recently conducted an interview with a new immigrant student at Albert Campbell, William, who came to Canada from China just 6 months ago. Let’s hear how he feels about his new life in Canada.

What is the main difference between being a youth in China and being a youth in Canada?

Being a youth, or particularly a high school student is usually very busy in China, we have a lot of homework that pushes the bed time later and later. There is virtually no past-time for me, personally. However, if there is past-time on some rare days, then it would be playing basketball or badminton. In short, I think youths here are more carefree compared to the ones in China.

What do you like about living in Canada, and what are some of the challenges for you as a new immigrant /student?

There are many things that I like about Canada; I’ll just name a few of it. Well, like I mentioned before, there is definitely less stress. And also, Canada has good environment and good driving manners on the street. The challenges are surely the new language, and new roads to memorize. Basically, just unfamiliar with surroundings

What kind of help do you need most as a new immigrant that you see is lacking in the resources/services provided right now?

First of all, the hardest challenge, language. And also a guide to certain places, it is often frustrating to want to go somewhere, but have no idea how. Besides these, the opportunities to meet new friends are needed as well.

What was your first impression of Canada once u passed customs?

It is not what I thought it would look like, actually. I first impression of Canada is symbolized by low buildings, flat landscape, and quietness. I also noticed that there is a lot less people, and is just very clean.

What leisure activities did you like to do in China, and would like to play in Canada?

In China, I liked to go Karaoke with my friends when we are free. I also liked to play basketball, and reading novels. In Canada, I like to stay at home more to watch TV, go on msn, and play computer games. But, I still sometimes go to the mall or play recreational sports.

Were Chinese high schools any different from Canadian high schools?

The first thing that I noticed is that there is a double amount of students in one classroom in China compared to here. From the outside, the schools here look like jailhouses to me. And Chinese students had to wear uniforms. To my pleasure, Canada has easy math homework; the sad part is that it takes me double the time to read instructions in English.

Are you a newly immigrated high school student? Here are some tricks for you to adapt and enjoy your new life in Canada!

Learning English

Now that we are in Canada, fluent English is a must. It is particularly true for high school students, since the master of English influences one’s life both academically and socially.

Steps:

  1. If you are not interested, you will find reasons to avoid studying English, and whenever you do study, it will be very difficult. So to want to learn, you must identify your motivation and set goals for yourself.
  2. Practice makes perfect. Force yourself to talk to people in English, and write as much letters, email, notes in English as possible.
  3. Watch English TV programs, they are entertaining and educational.
  4. Make friends that does NOT speak your language, but English. This will push you to speak English and you will definitely learn faster.
  5. Give yourself a treat, learning a second language in high school is never easy. Acknowledge the efforts you made.

Making Friends

It’s essential for all of us to make friends in a new environment. It’s easy for some, hard for the rest (especially when you hardly speak the language!).

Steps:

  1. Walk up to people and just say "hello". If they don't talk back just find someone else to talk to.
  2. Have confidence, and don't slouch when you walk. Smile at passing people or people just standing on their own. Everyone love bright spirits.
  3. Tell people your name if they ask you and tell them what country you came from.You could sometimes teach them your language, and let them teach you English! They could be your new best friend.
  4. Go to an after school program or school clubs. You can easily make good friends with common interest there.
    5. Dress in a way that is socially acceptable to your peers, and of course, and most importantly, to you.

Remember

  • If you don't make some friends don't be discouraged they may just be shy and, just like you, are afraid to make friends.
  • While you maybe nice, some people may just be mean for no reason. Remember that it’s not your fault, just shrug it off and find people that sees the fun in you.

One final shout to all of the newly immigranted youth, if you would like to make new friends, practice your english, or have any questions that we might be able to answer, please contact Tricia Clarke ( 416-396-4525 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ), at the L’amoureaux Youth Advisory Council, a group for youth by youth.

Good luck to you all!

CNM