Home is where the heart is?
By YUSUF TURABI
While moving to a new country is hard, it’s even harder when reality doesn’t meet one’s expectations.
One person who knows this well is Niagara College student Shrutika Shripat. who comes from a middle-class family in Gujarat, the western-most province of India.
She had long dreamed to come to Canada and surmounted many struggles in the process of securing her study visa. Although the thought of leaving her family behind was daunting, she migrated to Canada with the hope of getting a post-secondary education and establishing herself as a teacher.
What Shripat didn’t expect was to find herself in a living situation with an individual who was not only unwelcoming, but emotionally abusive.
“She said I was stinking,” said Shripat. “I’m not good, I’m dirty, she threw my clothes, my bags. Sometimes they stole things and kept it in my drawer, blamed me for stealing and gossip in front of friends to put a bad image on other people.”
It was an incredibly difficult situation for Shripat, who was also battling homesickness and culture shock. The situation had a lasting impact on her mental health and would set the course for her following months in Canada.
“I didn’t get any support from my friends,” said Shripat, visibly emotional. “When I asked my classmates to help, they said I don’t know, they yell at me.”
As Shripat’s living situation deteriorated, she sank further and further into depression.
“I didn’t do anything to be treated like this,” said Shripat.
It became a living nightmare for her. In roughly 10 months she had to change residence almost six times until she finally found a home accepting of her.
Due to her precarious living situation and struggles with mental health, she couldn’t focus on her studies and fell behind in her classes. The entire ordeal had a significant impact on her academic performance.
“When I sleep at night, I keep thinking about assignments,” said Shripat. “I wasn’t able to take a decision and the skill of making decisions was losing.”
Shripat’s story, unfortunately, is similar to many others.
Chandru Siddarushi, an international student in his third semester of the mechanical engineering technician program at the Welland campus, also went through a lot of troubles adjusting to his new life in Canada – including conflicts with roommates, finding work and adjusting to his new lifestyle.
“I got around 80-84 per cent in the first two terms and now it’s average around 72 percent,” says Siddarushi.
Despite having to deal with disrespectful and insensitive roommates and bad-mannered house owners, Shripat always tries to keep a smile on her face and maintain a positive attitude.
Shripat advises students who are in similar situations to take a step forward and give their best effort towards accomplishing the goals they moved to Canada to achieve. Determination, dedication and consistency are the main keys to success whether in the classroom or the workplace.
The moment one feels despondent and close to giving up, Shripat says it’s important to keep things in perspective and remind oneself why they started this journey in the first place. She also stresses that thing cans, and do, get better.
“I’m on medication now after being diagnosed with anxiety and I’m happy at my place,” said Shripat.