Adjusting to Student Life in the University of Saskatchewan – Shiney Choudhary
“It’s not easy to move to another country, but there are so many support services available here and the people are very warm and friendly - always ready to offer a helping hand.”
The University of Saskatchewan, situated in the vibrant city of Saskatoon, is a Canadian public research university and it located on the South Saskatchewan River, Set on a beautiful campus, the university is known for its supportive faculty and staff and its vast research infrastructure.
SchoolApply interviewed Shiney Choudhary, an international student from India, on her time and experiences at the University of Saskatchewan (uSask).
UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN
Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (CANADA)
Student Name: Shiney Choudhary
Favourite class: I think my favourite class would be a Women and Gender Studies Class about intersectionality and LGBTQ+ people. It taught me to look at everything, even the architecture of cities, from the perspectives of people from various backgrounds and experiences.
Things you love: I really like December and April because it is a relatively more relaxed time of the year since there are no classes and only studying for final exams. There are free massages and nap rooms available for use to take a break, and I also like that there are therapy dogs on campus every two weeks! It’s a really good break and very relaxing to visit a therapy dog!
Five words to describe University of Saskatchewan: Diverse. Supportive, Learning, Growth, Beautiful
The University of Saskatchewan (uSask) is a member of the U15, a group of top Canadian research universities, has a low 17:1 student to faculty ratio, $12 million in scholarships, and a diverse student population representing 109 countries. Most importantly, uSask is a place where you can learn, grow and be part of a community that values knowledge.
- Danny Freire, Manager of Student Recruitment at University of Saskatchewan
Tell us a little about yourself. What were your school experiences like before University of Saskatchewan?
I am from New Delhi, India. I moved here to Saskatoon 3.5 years ago to get a BA in Psychology. I have lived and studied my whole life in New Delhi before moving to Canada. New Delhi is a very big city with about 19 million people. That’s 19 times the size of Saskatchewan, as the province has a population of 1 million people.
I attended high school and university in New Delhi. At the University of Delhi, I got a BA (Hons) in Psychology in an all-female college. This was my first time studying with only female students. It was quite difficult to adjust to university life, away from most of my friends that I grew up with. It was also a new learning experience.
Why did you decide to pursue your education in Canada and specifically at the University of Saskatchewan?
I decided to come to Canada to study my Bachelors again because I felt like psychology was something that needed to be understood from different perspectives and unlike my other classmates at the University of Delhi, I did not feel prepared or educated enough to apply for a graduate school program right away. I felt like I needed more experiences and knowledge before I could decide if I wanted to take my education further.
After I decided to study in Canada, I applied to two universities, University of Calgary and University of Saskatchewan. uSask was the more affordable option and they offered me a place to live in Residence on campus so I chose uSask.
What degree are you pursuing and why did you decide to study this?
I am pursuing a BA in Psychology with a Certificate in Criminology and Addictions. I decided to study this because I feel that it complements my desire to be available to those in need and my curiosity about human nature. My father is a psychiatrist and I grew up reading some of his books about the human psyche, psychiatric disorders and what it means to be human. This sparked my interest, so I decided to pursue psychology.
Did you have any issues adjusting to life in Canada or university?
When I came to Saskatoon, I did not know anyone in the city. Living in Residence on campus helped me meet people my age and also some people who were in the same boat as me - living far away from their family. It was difficult at first adjusting to living on my own, cooking my own meals, looking after my own apartment, and making time for studying. Having the support of my roommates, the very approachable staff, and faculty at the university, I adjusted quite quickly to the new education system and the new lifestyle.
There are so many free services available on campus to anyone who is struggling, that I found it very useful and convenient to reach out and ask for the help I needed. I used some of my free-time to volunteer on campus and in the Saskatoon community to meet new people and develop connections - this actually helped me get my first job in Saskatoon!
What has your experience been like as an international student at University of Saskatchewan?
The people in Saskatoon have been very friendly and welcoming. Even though it is very cold here, there are still many things to do, lots of wonderful places to see close-by, and a lot of wonderful people to meet.
The International Students and Study Abroad Centre organizes the welcome for International and Exchange Students every September and January. It’s a great event and I learned so much about the city by participating. The centre also organizes shopping trips to the local grocery store, local attractions, museums and art galleries.
Are you taking part in any extracurricular activities?
I have taken part in a lot of extracurricular activities. I have volunteered with the Students Union Help Centre in my first two years at university and even received an award from them for my volunteer work. I have also volunteered for organizing events and social outings for International and Exchange students and have given workshops on dealing with stress and being a leader, networking, and developing your brand. I volunteered with Peer Health, a health education group on campus, and the Saskatchewan Abilities Council, where I helped organize social events for people with varying abilities.
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What were your first few days at the University like?
I came to Saskatoon in January. My first day in Canada and it was -35 degrees Celsius. That was a bit of a shock, even though I expected it to be cold. I had no idea what -35 degrees Celsius would feel like. My residence hall had a lot of international students and it was great to meet them. They were very helpful, even with grocery shopping, and they informed me how to access the public transit system.
I was very excited for my classes at the university since it would be different from back home. It was a bit difficult to keep up with the Canadian accent of my professors at first, so I communicated with them about it, asking for help in things I didn’t understand, also asking if they could possibly speak a bit slower for me to keep up, and also asking if there were services on campus that I could utilize to improve my grades. The professors were really helpful and referred me to a lot of free services on campus.
Are you holding a job while studying?
I have worked a lot on campus. I have worked in health education and have given tours of campus for the prospective students who are interested in the university. I have also worked at the Residence office as a Resident Assistant for two years, creating programming for the students in residence, providing support, and referring them to the right resources. I have also worked at the Student Employment Centre, helping people with their resumes, cover letters, interviews and other job-related documents.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I plan to work in a small community in Saskatchewan to use the skills that I have developed to understand and learn from the people about what it is like to live in a small community. I have grown up in a big city and lived in a city my whole life and I think it would be a great learning experience for me to work and live in a small community.
What would you say to international students who are considering studying at University of Saskatchewan?
While studying at the University of Saskatchewan, I have learned to be more independent and manage my time and priorities better. It has also taught me to think for myself, question things that don’t seem right and think critically about everything that is said.
I think the biggest strength of the university and of Saskatoon is how welcoming the people are here. It’s not easy to move to another country, but there are so many support services available here and the people are very warm and friendly - always ready to offer a helping hand.
Another thing that I really liked about the University of Saskatchewan as an undergraduate student is the vast amount of research opportunities available to students. Almost everyone I know who has studied at the U of S is involved in research in some capacity, and a lot of them have travelled to places around the world to talk about their research.
University of Saskatchewan is a wonderful experience for all students. If you are interested in finding out more about the school, click on SchoolApply’s contact link now!