The Canadian Way


Tertarik untuk belajar di Kanada? Dalam artikel ini, Gregorius Erico menulis tentang cara hidup di Kanada dan juga sistem pendidikannya. Terkenal dengan maple syrup-nya, penghuninya yang ramah, dan suhu udara yang bisa mencapai -40ºC pada musim dingin, Kanada ternyata mempunyai sistem pendidikan yang tidak kalah bagusnya dengan negara-negara populer lainnya seperti AS, Inggris, Singapura, Hong Kong, maupun Australia. Gregorius sekarang belajar di Columbia International College – setingkat dengan SMA – yang memberinya kesempatan untuk mendaftar ke universitas Kanada ataupun AS dan Inggris dengan beasiswa. Ayo baca tulisan Gregorius untuk mengetahui lebih lanjut mengenai Kanada dan Columbia International College .

It does not matter which country you go to earn a degree, you will always learn something while you live in the foreign land; a place different from where you are from. In my story, I am fortunate enough to have the opportunity to continue my study in Canada, a country known for its infamous maple syrup. Currently, I am residing in Hamilton, Ontario, a city one hour away from Toronto. I am going to give you descriptions on several aspects that I know while I am staying here, which are the people, the environment, the living cost, and the education. I suppose people are more familiar with the education and life in the US, UK, Singapore, Hong Kong, or Australia. However, Canada is not a bad choice to choose either!

Since the first day I arrived in Canada, I was quite certain with what people had told me before I flew here about the Canadian: they are very nice. The taxi driver who took me from the airport to my residence was very welcoming. He spoke to me and shared many interesting things about Canada. And this taxi driver could really personify most of the Canadians. Everyone is very helpful and friendly. At school, at stores, or on street. And talking to a stranger while waiting for the bus is not a funny or weird thing to experience. So, if you are thinking of coming to Canada to pursue your higher education, do not worry about settling in with the new society. These people are proficient at helping you settling in.

Hamilton is not a very big city. It only becomes home to 520,000 people. Compared to where I am from, Jakarta, it is nothing. As a result, it is not so crowded here. For a person like me, who values tranquility, it is a very nice place to stay in. The sidewalks and roads are very clean; the air pollution is very low; and the weather is very nice, too, especially in summer. The normal temperature during the day in summer is around 21ºC to 26ºC. However, winter can be very arduous here. The temperature may drop to -40ºC (last year winter), especially in the province of Ontario. Thus, if you are planning to register for winter program, get yourself wrapped by warm clothes properly. Get proper winter coat, gloves, socks, sweater, and boots. Besides the weather, there are two renowned tourism sites located in Ontario, which are the Lake Ontario and the Niagara Falls––it splits Canada and the US. These two places are amazing. It is more mesmerizing to see these two iconic places live than from the pictures.

Canadian dollars (CAD) is almost as expensive as the US dollars (USD). You can usually use USD to pay here. However, you cannot use the CAD in the US. Something, huh? In Canada, all price tags are subject to the tax. In the province of Ontario, the tax is 13%. It may vary from one province to the other. The price of goods here itself is particularly more expensive than in Indonesia, for the Canadian living standard is obviously higher than it is back home. The best advice is not to convert the price from CAD to IDR (Indonesian Rupiah). A bottle of mineral water costs around $1.5 and a meal around $6.5.

Now, enough with my daily life in Canada. Here is the part that most of you are expecting to read.

I am currently studying at Columbia International College. It is a boarding school. I am going to graduate in May, 2015, and I will enrol in Fall semester 2015 for university. No international student is eligible for scholarship when they enter any university in Canada. However, if I am graduating from this boarding school, I am considered a Canadian student. Thus, I can register myself and get assessed all along with the other applying Canadian students. For I am considered as a Canadian student, then I am eligible for scholarship. Moreover, this school has a close relationship with top universities in Canada, especially Ontario, like Waterloo University, University of Toronto, McMaster University, York University, and so forth. Each university may grant averagely $300,000 to students in Columbia International School. You can check its webpage here: Last year, a student from Indonesia received scholarship offers over $100,000 in total from top universities.

If you wish to go to Canada to study, you can enter this school even when you have just passed grade 8 in Indonesia. You can continue the rest of your high school here. The good thing about this school is that students are not forced to learn all subjects like we do in Indonesia. We can choose the subjects we want to study in university. Thus, students can focus more on their favoured lessons. I, myself, only take 3 subjects each semester––I take 2 semesters. I need 6 credits to graduate, mainly because I graduated from high school in Jakarta. It costs more or less $25,000/2-semesters (all-in, including dorm, 3 times a day meal plan, uniform, free city bus pass, and tutor).

If you are still not sure whether or not you will continue your higher education––university, in Canada, some students also received scholarships when they enter other universities in US or UK. This school has a department called University Placement Office. The people in this department will do their best to assist you, giving you the most detailed and accurate information, to choose your university. They will guide you to pick the most suitable university for you regarding your wished field of study.

Besides developing their academic skills, students also have the opportunity to explore their ability in sports and leadership activities. The school offers various types of after-school activities. In addition to that, for your information, in order to graduate, all students must complete a minimum of 10 hours of community hours. However, most top universities expect the future students to do up to 50 hours of community hours. You do not need to be baffled. The school will assist you to complete it.

The school community is very multicultural. You can meet people from many different places all around the world. It is a very valuable thing to be able to connect with people from different cultures. There are people from the US, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Nigeria, Ghana, Libya, France, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and more. They are very respectful and helpful to one another. The atmosphere is very welcoming.

If you wish to study abroad and gain a very diverse experience, it would be a good idea for you to go to this school. Besides giving you more chance to receive scholarships, going to this school can give you the experience of connecting with people from all around the world. The school can also help you with choosing your major and university. Not many people know this kind of school in Canada. Now you know, and it is very helpful.

Featured image is taken by the author himself.

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Gregorius Erico came from the capital city of Jakarta. However, he finds that the world is so much bigger than that. His soul is always seeking for adventure and chances to expand his horizon. He learns by doing, thus he cannot stop trying and learning something new. He believes that he should try even though he may fail, but he does not ever want to fail to try. He is also convinced that school lessons are never adequate to cope his curiosity. He goes out and encounters the world to perceive and take in more. Then, he can express himself better and envision a better tomorrow. In the end, the world is always bigger that what he thinks it is.



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