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Khan on coming to Canada during COVID
Royal Roads international student, travel blogger, and freelance independent journalist Rahma Khan has published an article at Open Canada on her experience coming to Canada to study in the time of COVID-19.
Here’s an excerpt:
On my flight from Karachi to Vancouver, however, I started to question my decision to fly across continents to a new country with no friends or family during a global pandemic. These doubts didn’t ease during my 14-day quarantine in the basement room in Vancouver that was my new home. In Karachi, I lived in a house full of people. I often couldn’t find quiet if I wanted to. Now, there was no one to talk to, to cook for me or offer me any help at all. I was sharing the basement with two sisters from Panama who were in Canada to learn English. Our linguistic limitations made it hard to communicate. Despite living with housemates, I was still alone. The only time I felt taken care of was when a stranger from Health Canada called to make sure I was continuing to quarantine.
I did some quick math and realized my savings would be gone in a few months. I needed a job. My financial worries added to the stress of loneliness. I had no idea how I would find work in the midst of a pandemic when so many businesses were shut down and so many people were on relief. I started questioning my decision to come to Canada all over again.
Slowly, though, things started to turn around. After many online tests and interviews, I landed a job as a technical writer. My financial worries began to ease, but the loneliness remained. My classes were still online. I had been in Canada for more than two months but still barely knew anyone other than my housemates. I was facing challenges and achieving small successes but had no one to share these stories with. Thanks to the pandemic, most meetups and events for international students and other newcomers in Canada were put on hold, leaving me with little opportunity to make friends or meet new people.
A chance to escape from my doldrums appeared as I scrolled through my phone one day and found an app to organize socially distanced events like parking lot meetings and hiking trips. I signed up for a hiking trip with a group of five people to Maple Ridge, on the outskirts of Vancouver.