This is the continuation of Xiangtao Meng’s story of studying at Queen’s University as an international student. Read Part 1 to find out about his experience of learning English language for university preparation.
Part 2: The foundation
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. By Henry Thoreau
After a transition during the summer, I started my journey at Queen’s. It was a journey into the woods, with picturesque scenery but also with marshes and brambles, appealing and challenging. Frosh week gave me my most favourite memories, from my first time attending a house party to playing with mud in the frosh Olympics; joining a club, socializing with other members, playing laser tag and eating frozen yogurt together on a cold night were also some high points. I was thrilled to find Queen’s to be so diverse in culture, which allowed me to sink into the Canadian culture as well as familiarize myself with other cultures by coming across with other exchange and international students.
In fact, it is these events and activities planned by those back room boys that were the best memories from my first year. I really appreciate the efforts which those back room boys contributed. Moreover, I appreciate the support from an engineering student and my philosophy TA.
Once after coming back from an event at residence orientation, I went for a walk along the lake and sat on a bench, reflecting on the experiences from that day with my new floor-mates and dreaming of my future Queen’s life. At the same time, I felt a little bit homesick because of not talking to my family for couple weeks. While I was sitting there, an upper year Canadian engineering student was taking a walk as well. He passed by me but then turned back and asked whether or not he could sit with me. He sat there and asked why I was sitting alone, he chatted with me and listened to my stories and background, and he encouraged me to talk to my family frequently and suggested ways on how to start a conversation with strangers. From his words not only did I know what my future university life looks like, but I was also encouraged and motivated. Eventually, I overcame homesickness by socializing with people from my classes and meeting many who are supportive and friendly.
Besides the support from this engineering student, my philosophy TA also helped me a lot with writing essays and comprehending texts. I took philosophy in my first year and by the end of first semester the philosophical world appealed to me. However, the amount of reading and writing quadrupled during the second semester which overwhelmed me. Remembering those days when great treaties dominated my mind and when I struggled in understanding concepts and writing term essays, I appreciated the support from the TA. My TA really understood my difficulties, explained concepts patiently, as well as gave me advice on reading and writing. With his help I succeeded in this course and my interest in philosophy was further developed.
With support from others the journey at Queen’s became smoother and I finally succeeded in my first year.
Part 3: The Acceleration of this story is coming soon. Follow our blog to get notices of new posts!