My time abroad with Greystone College
My experience abroad as the Face of Greystone College is coming to an end. I have to say it has been a blast! It all started when one day, back in October 2014, I received an e-mail from ILSC, the school where I studied English in Canada that also happens to be a sister company of Greystone College. It was promoting an online contest to win one of 5 full scholarships to study in Vancouver, or Toronto, for the diploma of your choice. After reading the rules of the contest I applied without thinking twice, after all, I did not have anything to lose. I was amazed to see that my video got so many views, comments and likes. The 20 videos with the most votes were shortlisted and advanced to Phase 2, where I needed to submit an essay. I was so excited since I love writing and expressing my ideas. I hoped against hope that I would be among the five winners. I still remember the moment when I heard Grace Pyo, Director of Greystone in Vancouver, saying my name when she announced the winners over a video. I could not believe it. I had won!
From strangers to friends, from friends to family
In my first day at school I was so nervous, I was finally attending a college in Canada and everyone seemed to know each other. Classes were always fun, small groups and knowledgeable teachers who were resourceful and patient. Some teachers knew how to connect with us through creative activities, while others had their way of teaching through the book and assignments; it was always a dynamic environment. We celebrated together holidays, had a few birthdays parties and field trips like the one we took to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. I remember all the advices received from teachers, who over time became friends, and the long nights studying for the finals. My graduation was a special one as it was also the day that Greystone College threw their annual Halloween party. My teachers, friends and Co-Op coordinator were dressed for the occasion and everyone had a good time while feasting on the food and drinks available.
Co-op & off campus experience
One of the most helpful courses I took at Greystone College was the one that prepared for my work experience, as I had no professional experience at all before I started at Greystone. From writing the ideal resume for the Canadian market to learning how to prepare for an interview, we learned it all in the Work Placement Skills class. One of the things that helped me the most to overcome anxiousness when looking for a job was to volunteer in a couple of organizations. Since every professional experience you have is relevant to your job hunting, volunteering can help you get the right job and also to network. After several months of working as a Front Desk in my off campus work at Steve Nash Fitness World & Sports Club, interacting with people, learning everything about customer service, I decided to make this company my co-op workplace and had the support of my co-op coordinator in making that transition. I have learned so much, developed new skills and now I understand the importance of working in a diverse workplace culture.
My personal growth
My time abroad taught me to be more open minded. As this was the first time I was going to live by myself, I did not know what to expect. This whole year gave me the best experiences of my life so far; travelling, international friendships, college experience, meeting my roommates etc. During the process, I experienced growth professionally and became more mature: I see things in a different way now. My focus has changed over this past year and I feel I am in the right track with my priorities. It can be hard to be organized when you attend school, have a part time job and other activities but once you start getting used to it, everything goes smoothly. Living by myself taught me the reality of the world: paying bills and learning how to do taxes, for example. I learned also how to cook and understood the importance of money. When you are living abroad as a student, you live with a tight budget, which also means that managing your finances becomes a priority.
When I won this scholarship I understood the power to believe that you can achieve your dream. At Greystone College, I made valuable friendships and created memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Thank you to ILSC Education Group for that e-mail sent to me two years ago. That’s where it all started, and thank you Greystone College for the opportunity.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post! Follow me on instagram @michelleegt for my latest adventures.