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Astrid during her internship in Canada!

Astrid was in Canada and: "I just literally thought OH MY GOD. This is happening. This is going to be my home for at least a year. It better be good".

  • Adventure
  • Internship Abroad
  • North America
  • Canada
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Astrid from the Netherlands to Canada: “Mountains, lakes, snow, sun, beach, trees… Canada has everything.”

What was the first thing you thought when you got off the plane? (bus/train/car)

I just literally thought OH MY GOD. This is happening. This is going to be my home for at least a year. It better be good. I felt nervous but also very excited. I couldn’t wait to explore the city (Vancouver) and get to know all the good and the bad stuff. When I saw the mountains surrounding this beautiful city, and I really really love mountains, I was sold. I fell in love with the city lots of times.

What was the most shocking difference between your home country and your new country?

Mostly its size. Canada is amazingly big. Canadians use their car to go everywhere. It makes sense, because sometimes their neighbours live 100 km further up the road. But sometimes it doesn’t make sense, for example when they use their car to go to the laundromat at the end of the street. Being Dutch and super into biking, this is a thing I would never understand. The size of the country also brings along a lot of freedom! This is an amazing feeling that I sometimes miss in the Netherlands. In Canada you can go camping in the wild almost anywhere. I love it.

Did you ever feel homesick? How did you cope with this?

I only felt homesick after I was hit by a motorcycle and I had to spend time in the hospital. It was only this moment that I wished I was closer to my family. I coped with this feeling of homesickness by Skyping my family every now and then and to keep myself occupied with my friends in Vancouver.

Did you feel at home in your new country? Why (not)?

Yes, I felt very much at home! I also think it is very easy to feel at home in Canada. Canadians are super friendly and they especially want to make you feel at home and for you to fall in love with their country. They took me to shows, their favourite restaurants, they let me stay at their homes and they just want to make sure you are having a good time.

Please give us tips about who to befriend when living abroad. The Russians? The Irish? The Chileans? (Honestly, we want to know some gossip about other internationals you’ve met.)

I lived in a house with people from all over the world when I was in Vancouver. I can tell you that Chinese people are great at making a mess in the house, Italians are very loud but wonderful cooks of course, Japanese people try to avoid all the other people in the house and when they do see you they don’t know what to say so they wave, Australians are just there to party so if you like beer or wine it’s easy to become friends with them, Canadians are very polite, so you never know what they are really thinking.

Of course this is just about the ones I met, but I guess it does suit the prejudice we have of people from most countries. My tip: Just try to meet them all! Maybe an Italian lights your fire or maybe you prefer the jokes of a Scotsman. You will never know if you don’t try!

Describe the inhabitants of the new country in three words.

Friendly, Hospitable, Easy-going

Was there a type of local food you could NOT handle?

Canadian food is very much comparable to Dutch food, so they don’t really have any odd local food. At one point I was kind of sick of all the sugary and fatty foods though! Like a decaf skinny vanilla latte.. seriously disgusting. There are a lot of fast food chains which I think is horrible. But it’s not like they force you to eat it!

What did you learn from your experience abroad? Was it the loving community you liked? The cheap cocktails? The overwhelming nature? Or was the experience less helpful than expected? Details, we want details!

I did learn a lot during my stay in Canada. I had to face challenges that taught me a lot about life and about myself. I would recommend everyone to go abroad for at least a few months of your life, if you get the chance.

What I loved most about Canada was its nature. It is SO incredibly beautiful. Mountains, lakes, snow, sun, beach, trees.. Canada has everything. I would recommend it. Really.