Wellness

Spring Forward, but Catch Up on Your ZZZs

Up here in the Northern hemisphere, warmer weather is arriving soon… we hope! In Canada, the clocks will “spring forward” one hour on March 9th, and many of us will spend the next day feeling that one-hour loss. And then we’ll have the next week or so to get adjusted again…

Be My Valentine, Canada

Dreaming up your next travel destination? It might be time to rediscover good ol’ Canada. Whether you’re flying from Vancouver to St. John’s or from New York to Montreal, we say to you: “Get on that plane!”

Living Away From Home? How to Balance Homework with Fun

As an international student, you’d likely agree that there are plenty of things on your mind other than your schoolwork. Taking in a new culture, getting to know your classmates, and trying to fit in can take up so much of your time that it may start to feel like you have to pick between being a good student and having a social life! But don’t panic yet! We’ve assembled some resources to help you balance school and fun—and minimize stress while you’re at it. Here are a few tips to remember: 1. Try to adopt good study habits early on. If you do, you can save yourself from wasting time being disorganized—this will actually gain you more time to enjoy your life outside of class. Check out our list of useful study habits to help you breeze through the semester. 2. Take care of your health—both physically and mentally.…

Substance Abuse and International Students

Adolescence is a high-risk age group for alcohol and drug abuse. Internationally, rates vary depending on drug and alcohol accessibility, social norms, and religious customs. For example, rates of adolescent alcohol use are highest in the Americas and European regions, whereas they are low in Middle Eastern countries where alcohol is prohibited and not easy to locate. Even within a region, drug use can vary considerably. In Africa, prevalence of lifetime drug use in 13- to 15-year-olds varies from under 5% to over 30% (requires Adobe Reader), depending on the country. Therefore, it is difficult for teachers of international students to determine how much exposure they have had to drugs or alcohol. The rate of drug use in the past year in Canadian youth (ages 15–24), however, is about 5–23% depending on the drug, with cannabis and prescription drugs being the most frequently used. So students coming to Canada to study…

Study Habits to Help You Conquer the Mid-Semester Crunch

When mid-terms are just around the corner, it’s difficult to think of anything else. Essays, tests, group projects—when will it end? Until your time is yours again, here are some tips to stay on top of things so that you don’t feel like you are getting buried under a mountain of papers and deadlines. Know what you have to do It is hard to manage your time and know what to study if you aren’t clear on what you have to do. Understanding your course requirements is more than being aware of the deadline dates for your exams and assignments. The first place to look for more information is your course syllabus. Often neglected by students, your course syllabus offers a wealth of information. It should include key learning objectives for the course and a description of the course content. Giving it a review will help you understand what…

Defining and Dealing with Sexual Harassment in Canada

How do you know if you’ve been sexually harassed? If you are the target of sexual comments or behaviours that are known (or should be known) to be unwelcome, you may be experiencing sexual harassment. These occurrences aren’t always solely sexual in nature; for instance, they can involve a person treating you in an upsetting way because of how you look. Specific examples of sexual harassment (requires Adobe Reader) include the following: Insults about your sexuality Rumours about your sexuality Unnecessary or unwanted touching Suggestive or direct comments about sexual ability Requests for sex in exchange for doing you a favour or giving you a good grade or promotion Comments about your level of attractiveness If you find yourself in a situation like this at home, at school, or at work, here are some things to keep in mind: It’s not your fault. Everyone is accountable for their own actions.…

Your Guide to Becoming a (Mentally) Healthy Student

Finally, you made it! You’ve left the comforts of home to pursue your post-secondary education. For the first time in your life, you are your own boss, in charge of your own future. But this sudden leap into adulthood brings with it more responsibility, an increased workload, and competing demands on your time, money, and energy levels. All of these new expectations can be overwhelming, and may trigger mental health issues that could include burnout, anxiety, or even depression. Want to stay mentally healthy while at college or university? The tips below should help! Know your limits and start simple While you might be tempted to do it all—five classes, a part-time job, clubs, and sports—the simple answer is: Don’t. Packing your schedule so tight that there is no room to breathe will only cause you further stress. The result will be reduced memory, decreased attention, and lots of anxiety.…

Acts of Kindness, Love, and Caring

So here we are. It’s December already, and 2013 is drawing to a close. Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, winter solstice, or Milad-un-Nabi, many of us will be looking forward to some holiday time with family or friends. And then there’s the shopping, the parties, and the abundance of food…

Home Away From Home: Helping a Student Understand Cultural Norms in Their New Country

New country, new school, new friends, new home… These are just a few of the adjustments an international student will need to make. Throw into the mix a set of brand new customs and it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. Feelings of acceptance and belonging can significantly affect how well and how quickly a student adapts, but it’s important to understand that a student shouldn’t have to abandon their own traditions in order to integrate. As a homestay parent, you are first-hand representatives of your country’s culture. But be aware that any learning is reciprocal, and you stand to learn just as much from international students as they can from you. Travel the world in your own home Just as two words can have two different meanings, so can actions be perceived in completely different ways. So before your student arrives, try to do some research on cultural norms in…