With deadlines for a final university decision looming in the near future, as an out of province student myself, I know the fear associated with deciding to moving far away for university. The challenges associated with being an out of province student are no doubt, not nearly as difficult to overcome compared to what an international student deals with. However, there are some pros and cons of living out of province that you may not realize. If you are apprehensive about moving a long distance away from home to go to university, let me share some of the challenging as well as beneficial experiences you may encounter.

Long Weekends and Holidays

Definitely one of the downsides of being an out of province or international student is not being able to go home over the holidays. With so many people gone, campus can feel deserted and lonely. For Thanksgiving in my first year I made the mistake of staying on campus by myself. There is no doubt, I got a lot of work done, but I was very envious of all my friends Thanksgiving snapchat stories. In my second year I decided to ask a friend if I could spend Thanksgiving with him and his family. This was a great idea, his family was extremely nice to me and treated me like I was family. I had an amazing thanksgiving feast and I couldn’t have been happier. It might seem a bit intrusive to invite yourself over to another family’s celebration. However, most parents will have a soft spot in their hearts for you not being able to celebrate with your own family and would love to have you over.

Family

Like anyone else, I miss my parents and wish I could see them on occasional weekends. One challenge associated with living far away from your parents is that they are not there to help you with the many struggles of university life. Many of my friends get their parents to help them pick up groceries, help them move into their new place and much more. However, not having your parents around to do these things for you can be a good thing. You are not always going to be able to rely on your parents to do various things for you. It is important to learn independence and ingenuity. Completing difficult tasks like moving in by yourself has helped teach me that. In addition things like taking care of yourself when you are sick and scheduling your own appointments have taught me how over-reliant I was on my parents.

Friends

Although moving from British Columbia to Ontario isn’t exactly culture shock, my experience at the University of Waterloo in particular has exposed me to many different people and cultures. Vancouver, my hometown, just like the University of Waterloo, is a very diverse place. However, it has been amazing to make new friends and meet people from around the world. If I went to a local university, I would have most likely stuck with my high school friends and I may not have been able to have this same experience. 

You should choose whatever university is best for you regardless of where it is. Understandably, out-of-state and international universities can cause a substantial increase in cost. Nevertheless, if not wanting to move away from home is your sole reason for not accepting an offer at a university, I urge you to reconsider. There is no doubt that you will be homesick and the first few months may be tough. However, the independence you will gain and lessons that you will learn will be par to none and you will come out a more well-rounded person.

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