Why You Should Make Friends with an International Student

Weeks ago, I jokingly told my fellow eAmbassador Isabel Duque, -who is Colombia born and Ecuador raised- that I was going to write a post about her. I was just messing around at the time, but the idea stuck so here we go; an Isabel-inspired blog post:

Despite it’s small size Glendon is a great place to mingle with a diverse group of people. The international and bilingual focus of the academics at the campus attract a lot of students from other countries, as well as people from across Canada. I guarantee that you can’t stroll across campus on a weekday without hearing two or more different languages being spoken.

This is a really popular image here on campus

This means that you’re bound to make friends with people who aren’t from Canada and the cultural differences make for some fun conversations. As Isabel has said many times about herself and other International students: “We’re the coolest people.”
And she’s not wrong! I’ve never traveled outside of North America so having friends and classmates who I can pester with questions about the rest of Earth’s continents is actually an exciting learning experience.

I’ve also learned a lot about Canada from my international friends. For example, apparently all Canadian stereotypes are 100% true, our milk is particularly good (I swear I’ve been told this so many times it’s getting weird?), and, if Isabel is to be believed, our french fries are the worst (I think she’s just picky though).

The other day Isabel described a situation using an adage she had only ever heard in Spanish, which is a language I don’t speak a word of, so she tried explain the meaning to me. After a few minutes I  realized that we have that particular adage in English too, it just gets mangled a bit in translation. It’s fascinating that pointless little phrases can be international, but other things that seem so vital in one culture are completely foreign to another.

All of our friends have been on a mission to help Isabel “be Canadian” which includes an incredibly odd assortment of things. She’s already a Tim Horton’s addict, we’ve scarred her for life with all the strange Canadian PSA’s from the 90’s and early 2000’s (anybody else remember House Hippos?), and forced her to listen to the Hockey Night in Canada song. (RIP Stompin’ Tom Conners.) Are these the important things about being Canadian? Probably not; but they’re fun, and silly, and cool to see someone encounter for the first time.

Also, this is one of the funniest texts I’ve ever woken up to:

She’s going to be so mad that I uploaded a picture where she made a typo.

Welcome to Canadian winter Isabel! I’m glad you’re here even if it means you have to suffer through the cold with the rest of us. Also; thanks for making me excited about snow again.


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