Education in Canada: Interview

Anastasia Averchenkova talks to Maxim about his studying and living in Canada.

Education in Canada: Interview

Please, introduce yourself and tell us a few words about your university and educational program.

My name is Maxim Volovik. I am a student at York University in Toronto, Canada. I am pursuing an Honours BA in Cinema & Media Studies.

Why did you choose Canada for your education?

I wanted to move to an English-speaking country. Thus, my options included the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. From these countries, Canada has the easiest immigration process. Moreover, its climate is very close to what I'm used to in Russia. That's why I settled for Canada.

Was it hard for you to leave your life in Russia and move so far away?

I was convinced that it would be very easy for me to leave my previous life behind. However, closer to my departure from Russia, I have formed some very meaningful connections there. It was very difficult to adapt to a life without my best friends. However, I still talk to them every day. You don't need to live close to your best friends to enjoy each other's companies.

What are the main differences between education in Russia and in Canada in your opinion?

I think that Russia's educational system is more focused on academics, while Canada's education is more focused on experience and networking. While I do have to write boring essays and work on my assignments, my academic life allows me to work part-time and volunteer and not spend all of my free time on studying.

How hard was it to adapt to a country with a completely different mentality?

Surprisingly, not that hard. Years of being a chronically online teenager have prepared me for life in the West. Social media and TV shows had given me an idea of what to expect.

Have you ever thought of returning back to Russia?

Not really. I would regret having to come back home after spending so much money, time, and effort into getting a Canadian citizenship.

What was the most complicated thing during your migration process?

Definitely the process of obtaining all the needed documents. I was so anxious all the time, checking if I got approved for a visa or not every day. My visa actually got delayed, and I had to give up my initial tickets.

How did COVID-19 affect your live?

I actually came back to Russia for 8 months when COVID-19 has just begun. I was already planning to go back for the summer break, and I just decided to do it 2 months earlier. I, however, was not expecting that I would have to stay in Moscow till December. I had to adapt to a life where I had work in the morning and classes in the evening. Then, I went back to Toronto where I had to face endless lockdowns and, thus, solitude. It was very difficult. But I am glad the city finally opened up, and I em enjoying all the opportunities it has to offer.

What do you like most about the city you’re living in?

What I love the most about Toronto is its diversity. It represents so many different cultures and there is a broad variety of things you can do and places you can go to. It lacks a certain historical and cultural legacy that Moscow has, but it's very current and modern, and I can appreciate that.

How do you spend your days apart from studying?

I have a part-time job that actually takes up the majority of my free time. Currently I am also working on getting my driver's license and learning French. And I hang out with my friends, of course.

Could you please share some tips on how to deal with stress, anxiety and all the hardships of migration to another country?

Develop a healthy way to connect with people from your previos life. There's no need to grieve about lost connections all day every day! Instead, think of some cool activities you can do together while being thousand of miles apart. This will make your transition into your new life much smoother.

Would you change anything from the past if you had a chance?

I would if I could. But I believe that whatever choices I had made were meant to be made in order for me to arrive to the place where I am currently at.

Are you going to stay in Canada after getting a degree? Why?

Yes. Canada is a country I can see myself living in. I can see me finding a rewarding career and building a nice life for myself here. That is the whole reason why I moved here.

What are your plans for the future?

Oh, I honestly don't know. I hope to land an internship next year, and I will worry about the rest later. A part of me wants to go out and work, while another part wants me to continue studying and eventually get a PhD. We'll have to wait and see.

Thank you, Maxim for an interesting conversation. Good luck to you!

Interview by

Anastasia Averchenkova