Many people say everything in your life comes for a reason. I tend to believe that. What was my reason for coming to Canada? My guess is to make myself happy.
When I graduated from school, I never thought I would go anywhere to study, though I had an opportunity. When I was at my year 3 in the university, I knew I would go somewhere. This is how a person could change in 3 years. I craved for the unknown, I longed for an adventure, for a challenge. But not too much a challenge. Maybe just the one that is at a two-hour plane distance from Odessa, my hometown 😅
Initially my mum and I were thinking about Poland or Czech Republic. Quick reminder – I’m from Ukraine. Or as Canadians call it – THE Ukraine. I guess, it should be very important if they add a definite article to it 😅, but anyways… Poland or Czech Republic. Warsaw or Prague. I wanted Prague, because it seemed to offer bigger opportunities. Besides, there are so many Ukrainians now in Poland, I wouldn’t be actually moving out anywhere lol.
Just when my mum and I were focusing on Prague, trying to find a good university and a suitable program at a reasonable price (which is hard), my dad suddenly told us one day:
– I want our daughter to study in Austria or Spain.
– Why, dad?
– Because Austria is a very developed and respected country. And Spain… I just love Spain. You were born after your mum and I went to Spain for a vacation.
– Awesome reasons, dad. Love ya.
– Besides, you know Spanish and German.
– I don’t know German, daddy. Just some elementary grammar and vocabulary.
– Well, you can learn it fast.
– Again, reasonable 😸 Thanks. Love ya.
So, we went to an agency that specializes on education abroad. A very pleasant young woman called Anastasia described the process of getting into a state university in Austria and Czech Republic and Spain. Our jaws dropped. Tons of documents. Tons of procedures. Tons of nerves. Or you can get into a private institution. They are easier to get into and require fewer documents. Though the same nerves concerning visas. Hi, I’m Iryna. I’m from Ukraine, I need a visa to go almost anywhere in the world.
And private universities are very expensive and they offer more theoretic education, than colleges in Canada and the U.S.
– So what are we gonna do, mum?
– I have no idea. Try Poland? It’s cheaper and not so nerve-wrecking.
(Sorry, Poland. Nothing personal!)
Anastasia gave us a fact sheet.
– What is it?
– Have a look. These are top-ten world destinations in terms of education quality. With prices in average.
Czech Republic was there. I think it was number eight or something. The first two were the U.S and England. I have been to England many times, I love it. And never considered it as a place to study in, just because it is unbearable money-wise and you can’t stay there after your program is over – you simply can’t find a job in England if you are from Ukraine (well, not only from Ukraine, but you get the point). So stupid. A friend of mine graduated from college and university in London and couldn’t find a job, because she was not British, so she went back to Ukraine. And that was before Brexit.
The U.S. option was also very expensive. And so far away…
– Canada is a good option. Look, it’s ranked number three in the list, while the prices are a great deal lower than in the U.S. or England. And, on top of it, they offer very practical, hands-on education, just like you wanted. Have you heard of postgraduate education?
– No, never. But we want to hear more. Just out of curiosity. Not that we are choosing Canada. This is impossible. I mean, impossible 🙅🏻. We have never considered it. We want something more or less close to Ukraine, you know.
A month later I was sitting in front of my computer screen choosing between colleges. Then choosing between programs. I did a lot of thinking that month. So did my family. My dad refused to believe I could even potentially be going that far. My mum cried her eyes out, though kept telling my dad it was a good chance for me to achieve my goals, to fulfil my ambitions.
To feel happy.
I was afraid. And excited. My life was about to change. It was about to start.