Moving to Canada has changed me; it’s made me more independent. I have had to learn how to balance work and school life, and now I'm able to stay strong. I am not discouraged by certain situations that hold me back. That has been my source of inspiration – transitioning into a new culture and having to find my way and begin life as an adult. I consider myself fortunate as there are certain decisions I make now or for my future that a few years ago I would not have even thought of.
Even though I have been here for quite some time now, there is still some culture shock from moving to Canada because I spent so much of my time in Ghana. I am still learning. The biggest culture shocks I found were the school system, the society and social life, and healthcare which are so different from what I have experienced in Ghana. When I came here for my senior year of high school, I realized that I needed to fully understand a topic, then translate it into how I understand it, and then reflect on what I’ve learned. Then in post-secondary education, I found that the school system requires a lot of research and independent study, which can be overwhelming sometimes.
What I found in Canada’s social structure is that there is diversity all around, and everyone kind of keeps to themselves. Sometimes that can get boring, and I have not fully adapted to that aspect of Canadian culture. I am still in the process of getting used to it now, but back when I first moved to Canada it was a huge challenge.
My transition from Ghana to Canada, and the person I've become in the span of five years has been life changing. High school, even though I was only here for one year of it, wasn’t easy, and I saw the need to catch up or fit in with society and get moving. I have been in situations where I felt held back and missed certain opportunities. However, I have picked myself up and I try to challenge myself, get to work, and strive to be successful.
I feel like Canadian society keeps growing; there’s a sense of urgency that I didn’t have before. That fast pace made my head spin initially, and it was hard because you can’t afford to lag. I am not the only one who has faced challenges – many people have walked this path before and made it to success, and that is exactly what I aspire to. I have come a long way, and I keep striving to be true to who I am. It’s not easy, but it’s important to go with the flow and be positive.
At every stage of life, it’s good to have people to guide you and ask questions. Never be afraid to venture into new things. If you’re not feeling well mentally it’s important to speak to people and seek advice. People are always there to help and to listen. Sheridan’s resources – their guidance and counseling – and my professors and relatives were so helpful in supporting and nurturing me. My life has been up-and-down, but I can finally begin seeing it as a straight line. It is my goal to be a leader who supports children and families. I am looking ahead to my future and finally feeling at peace with myself.
To those reading this, you can accomplish anything.
(Interviewed and written by Hazel Mekkattukulam; photo by Nolan Brinson)