Canada Through My Eyes

The "Canada Through My Eyes" contest showcases the unique perspectives of international students as newcomers to Canada who will share their personal experiences through writing, poetry, and art.  The Lakehead University community is invited to vote on their favourite submissions.  This interactive display will take place on Monday, November 15th from 10AM - 2PM in the Agora (Thunder Bay Campus) where you can vote in-person, or you can use the online voting form linked below.All of the "Canada Through My Eyes" submissions are displayed below.  Click HERE to cast your vote!  Voting will close on Friday. November 19th at 4:30PM EST.

Submission #1

Academic Program: HBASc (Interdisciplinary Studies)
Home Country: India

When I first arrived to Canada, I still remember how young I was and how lost I thought I might be. But living on campus, I soon made a great group of friends that got me through my first year. I also had a wonderful international support team on campus to assist us with anything. I’m now in my last year and in awe of how fast time flew by. Being an international student is definitely one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I wouldn’t be the person I am if I hadn’t left my comfort zone and tried to become independent. There are so many experiences waiting for you and I hope you can make the best of it.

Submission #2

Academic Program: Masters of Computer Science
Home Country: India

I am an International Student who came to Canada this summer. The transition of study culture has been eventful for me as a quicksand, sinking my protective of studying to a whole new level. 

Sometimes, I won't even know how time pass by through the day. However, there yet some days that never end, thanks to long summer days. Resuming studies after doing a full-time job for years has become now a pinned moment in my life. 

The other thing I admire about Canada is the people; they are very welcoming and adorable. I expected to miss my home festivals, but not only did I get to see my culture celebrated so beautifully here, but I also loved seeing people from all across the city join together to celebrate it, which made me delighted.

Last but not least, the city of Thunder Bay is so peaceful to experience. I love the sound of the small waves from Lake Superior's tides crashing against the banks' rocks. In the clear nights of fall, gazing at the clusters of the Milky Way is awe-inspiring. The scenic beauty of nature complementing the comfort of modern society is what makes Canada a masterpiece of its own.

Submission 2 Photo

Submission #3

Academic Program: Masters of Computer Science
Home Country: Egypt

How to engage with a new community and yet be yourself? How to hold onto what you truly believe in and keep all the pieces that make you who you are, without isolating yourself from your surrounding world? How to merge and not to fall apart? This has always sounded like a changeling mission to me until I reached Canada and was proven wrong. During my first week at Lakehead University, it was both astonishing and relieving to me when I heard one of the speakers at the orientation say “We want you to come and bring your culture with you“. It made me realize that this mission, which I thought was undertaken by the newcomers only, can also be a mission for the community members themselves, and how warm it felt to be welcomed as your genuine self.

I do not know if this holds true for all cities in Canada, but the magnificent nature in Thunder Bay has always been a real cure for me every time homesickness visits. There is something about nature that makes you see all places as one place; just the earth, and all people as one person; only a human on this earth. I remember reading about Lake Superior and the fact that it is the largest lake, in terms of area, in the world but what I never read about is that it has as much space for people’s dreams, hopes, griefs and despairs, however variant they are. I was also blessed by coming in the fall, with all the changes happening to the trees everywhere. Seeing those leaves turn colors gradually and beautifully, then become dry and fall day after day leaving their trees so dry and pale, made me realize on reflection how it is never the end of the story as long as we breath, like these trees breath. Every storm will eventually end and it is just a matter of time before these strong beautiful trees grow their leaves and shine once again.

Canada Through My Eyes Submission 3 Photo

Submission #4

Academic Program:  Masters of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Home Country: China

17th August, I still remember the day when my wonderful journey started. With a super excited mood, flying from China to Canada. I looked at the sky through the window on the plane. The purple glow reflected in my eyes increases the sense of mystery. Canada, a beautiful country, here I am. 

A picture containing plane, jet, aircraft, clouds

Description automatically generated

If using a color to describe the spring in Canada, that would be yellow. Ice and snow melt quietly. Thousands of dandelions wake up and then bloom together forms a yellow flower sea in spring. They sing to the sun with a smile during the daytime and sleep nicely at night. They are telling people, animals, and other plants that it is the new start of a year. Everything would go well.

A group of flowers

Description automatically generated with low confidence

The summer in Canada is colorful and busy. Various kinds of flowers are in full bloom. Bees and butterflies dance in gardens. Swans and geese swim in lakes. Squirrels and dogs run on the ground. Kids play in pools. Adults prepare for a backyard barbecue. The bright sunshine lifts our spirits. Even the daytime is getting longer. It is amazing to watch the sunset at 10:30 pm. And of course, air conditioners and ice cream are necessary for cooling down.

A picture containing plant, flower, outdoor, close

Description automatically generated

The fall in Canada is red. Canada has a great number of maple trees. In fall, rains dye these trees gradually and silently. Maple leaves start to turn yellow and red. They decorate mountains, roads, and streets. These red maples are conspicuous watching from a distance. They are noticing people and animals that it is getting cold. Temperature is like playing a roller coaster in fall in Canada, at least in Thunder Bay. It can change suddenly. Squirrels are busy in fall collecting food in case of starving in winter. Daytime gets short and snow usually comes around Halloween.

A picture containing plant, outdoor, tree

Description automatically generated

The winter in Canada is, of course, white. Everything is covered by snow in winter. The air is so pure in winter. Walking outside, you will leave a deep footprint. You can still enjoy the winter in Canada by making a snowman or making a snow angel. Besides, you can play a snowball fight with several friends or play a hockey game. It is always a good choice to drink hot coffee or hot chocolate and hang out with families and friends in winter.

A snowman in a snowy yard

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Submission #5

Academic Program: HBASC Media Studies
Home Country: Nigeria

Honestly speaking, coming to Canada was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. The motive wasn’t just to come to Canada alone but being opportune to be in the best research university in Canada, which is Lakehead University. I expected a lot when coming to Canada and to my surprise it was the way I ever imagined it (except for the cold). Before coming into Canada I had always watched YouTube videos about what Canada looks like, I stalked the heck out of Lakehead University. Because I couldn’t wait to start schooling in Lakehead. But unfortunately it was during the COVID-19 lockdown so there was no way I was going to make it to Canada as soon as possible. The only thing I could do to satisfy my eagerness was to follow every Lakehead social media account so I don't miss out on any updates. I did that by following every  Facebook account, Instagram account, twitter account, and LinkedIn account that was affiliated to Lakehead University. 

While I was waiting for the lock down to uplift I started taking my classes online and I was so happy to meet the instructors. They were very nice, helpful, understanding, and considerate. They were always down and ready to help. They are very Amazing people. Finally I got my VISA and I flew out of the country a few weeks after. That was one of the happiest days of my life. I said to myself finally, I am coming to Canada🇨🇦. While in the plane I still didn’t stop my research , I paid for the on air wifi and I kept on searching on what the Toronto Pearson Airport was going to look like and what the streets were going to look like also. I had a stop over in Germany 🇩🇪, but still I couldn’t wait for the next flight to Canada. Finally I got to Canada. I was happy, I took pictures, connected to the Airport WIFI, and sent a message to my parents on my arrival. The immigration officers were so nice.

Finally I left the airport to get a Cab and damn the cold hit me differently. I never expected Canada to be so cold. I know it’s cold but, I was comparing the coldness to that of my house air conditioner. Finally I went to my hotel , had my quarantine and after that I moved to Orillia. It’s very cool and calm in Orillia. It’s a type of environment I would love to live in when wealthy . No noise, not over crowded and everywhere is clean. Now I should be using my 7th month in Canada and I have adapted to the fall and winter cold, the summer heat, and the unpredictable weather. Canada is beautiful, and I love it over here.

Submission #6

Academic Program: Honours Bachelor of Commerce
Home Country: India

Here She Came
Bags were packed and she was ready to go
Getting all fancied up, oh should’ve seen her glow.
Shine in her eyes and smile on her lips
Someone felt her heart quivering within.
She left her home, she left a piece of her heart
When here she came to be a part of this new plot.

The only time she was on her own
Was in a dream where magic was sown.
Now she was on a plane with everything so charming
She found a thrill in its take-off and landing.
All her dreams... and hope she had brought 
to here where she came to be a part of this new plot.

With immense awe in her heart a wonder had stuck her
She came out of the airport unaware what was ahead of her.
Dark clouds in the sky and damp ground beneath
Filled her up with cheer and belief.
Her mind was clear she had no second thought
Here she had come to be part of this new plot.

Then she was on road to the place she calls home
Where everyday she has learnt and has grown.
I would not say it was easy for her 
the change from the dearest to a stranger 
and if you ask her, she will tell you how her soul felt endangered.
But all is good, and this is the story she asked me to up for a shot
Here she is now and is a part of the plot.

Submission #7

Academic Program: Masters of Civil Engineering
Home Country: India     

The cold wind touched my cheeks,
Bringing my natural blush to gleam;
Stories of love I heard through the winter snow, 
Falling merrily along with destined souls;

Matching with the maple leaves, 
I wore new sweater with my dancing feets;
A chill came running down my spine , 
When the bright sun hits my smile;
Making me laugh so beautifully, 
That suddenly an old couple blessed me with prosperity;

Am I right to save the falling leaves? 
Knowing that fall paints the grass with a different scheme;
The strange night is still haunting me, 
When an elder woman was alone at night walking homelessly, 
These beautiful buildings became dark soldiers, 
When the child left his parents on the boulder;

My heart aches to see this cruelty, 
Hoping maybe somewhere God is looking into this reality;
Don't fade away the kind hearts, 
I guess one can save the longing darts;

Now that my eyes are teary, 
I want blinding lights to bring some fairy;
Wishing for the health of my family, 
I want my parents to feel happy;
Maybe in the future, I can help somebody, 
But as for now, all I can do is to write this melody.

Submission #8

Academic Program: Masters of Chemical Engineering
Home Country: Iran

In the early hours of this morning, the rain is slowly dropping on my window, and the trees of the great white north are gently swaying in the wind as I write my first impressions of Canada.

Prior to moving to Canada, I must confess that I knew very little about the country. We are bombarded with all conceivable information and cultural events from the United States, but Canada does not often appear on our television screens. This is beneficial because I came here with no expectations and accepted everything as it is! It's pretty simple to engage in conversation with others as the topic progresses. The people greet you with a smile and good morning! You express your gratitude to the McDonald's employee, who responds by wishing you a pleasant day with a smile. When you get on the bus, the driver greets you with a friendly smile. Another good point about Canada is that there is absolutely no societal division to be seen at all! I was literally blown away by this... People who clean your apartment are given the same level of respect as building managers or any other visitors.

For as long as I can remember, I've felt wrong about travelling to other nations just to indulge my food cravings. In Canada, "local food" is defined as food grown or raised within a reasonable distance of a city or town. It's all here: paninis, sandwiches, pasta, and more. There are many celebrations in this country, each with a different title, and everyone is excited to participate in these events. Among those, something which grabs my eyes is about Old people. They are just as enthusiastic as the young... They can be found dancing on the streets, kissing, even taking the scariest of the rides.

As a final point, I would like to say that pristine and untouched nature can be seen that fascinates human beings in this place. Despite the decrease in temperature, colourful vegetation can still be seen, and animals such as deer, squirrel, etc. are grazing in a few steps around you.

Submission #9

Academic Program: Academic English Program
Home Country: Japan

When I arrived at Thunder Bay for the first time in September, I opened  a car door on the way from the airport to my host house, and I felt smells of  nature. Then I said "I really like the clear and nice air here...". This is my first  impression of Thunder Bay. 

For the next two months, I was able to see a lot of beautiful scenery of  nature in my daily life. One morning and evening, I couldn't help taking pictures  because they were great.

A photo of the sunsetting on Lakehead Thunder Bay campus   Another photo of the sun setting in Thunder Bay

We can see lots of nice views everywhere that make us wanting to leave in our  photo albums. Since I came here, I stopped looking at my phone screen  outside. Instead, I look up and around, hear a sound, and smell a scent. 

In addition, we can see an enormous number of stars at night because  the air is completely clear. It is awesome. I thought I can spend for long hours by  just looking up the starry night sky. (If it wasn't too cold…) 

These are the most favorite experiences in Canada for me.

Submission #10

Academic Program: Masters of Computer Science
Home Country: India

Many people have a choice to select a country for their Masters
But that’s not enough to go abroad dear brothers and sisters
Having a dream and making it success
Oh boy, I must say I am truly bless

Day of arrival was full of adventure and nice
I can see deep mixed emotions in my parent’s eyes
Boarding a flight gave me a sensation of overwhelm
Made me a promise a new land’s mud I am going to smell

The journey in flight was completely sleepless
But landing first time into my dream country was absolutely speechless
I was numb and full of teary eyes
The beauty of those landscapes and skies

Submission #11

Academic Program: Academic English Program
Home Country: Japan

First Fancy Halloween in Canada

I experienced Halloween as a big event here. In my home country, Halloween  exists, but we don’t do any special things for that day. However, I had known that  foreign countries such the U.S., the U.K. and Canada enjoy Halloween because my  friends who studied in these countries told me they experienced a fun day, so I was  really excited to be in Canada on Halloween day. As I imagined, the Halloween in  Canada was enjoyable time for me. I introduce to you three things how I enjoyed  Halloween. 

Firstly, I went to Halloween Haunt at Wonderland. During thanksgiving holiday,  I traveled Toronto with my four classmates, so we had a chance to visit there. There are  lots of zombie and blooded creatures to make visitors scared. For example, they followed us until we went far away and screamed suddenly with high tone. I shut my mother language to stop chasing, “Yamete (Stop it)”, of course, they didn’t understand  what I said and stop it, but I could protect by myself to grab my friends with both of my  hands. It was scared but funny.

Halloween Haunt at Wonderland

Secondly, I curbed pumpkin. As I said before, my home country doesn’t have  such a big pumpkin, so it was first time for me. Although both high concentration and  strong power were needed to curb correctly, I made the cutie Jack-o’ -Lantern which  imaged about my host family cat, Vernon.

Finally, I did trick or treat. Even if I am 22 years old, I wore costume and got  lots of candies because my friend’s host mother asked her friends and planned for us.  It was cold outside at 9 pm, but we sung the Halloween song in front of door. Trick or  treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat. Not too big, not too small, just a  size of Montreal. 

These are what I did for Halloween. I cannot experience if I stay in my country.  I am proud of myself to get out of home country and try new things. Only 35 days for  staying here, but I continue to try new in this beautiful country, Canada.

Submission #12

I live in Canada and I'm Persian. I'm not from desert and I don't have bomb either. I love Canada more than using my comb Tyler!