Messages from the ISS – International Student Support

Finding a balance between living life and overworking yourself. What should you focus on, when everything seems so important?

Lea Krusemeyer  (She/Her)  // Contributor

Have you ever been at work and barely able to focus because all you could think of was that one assignment for school that was due at midnight? Or did you ever skip a class because work gave you a shift and there was no way you could switch it or call in sick? I am sure most students who also work have experienced at least one of those situations before, they are stressful but it seems like they are unavoidable sometimes. 

International students often have to work while studying to support themselves through their time at university. We often do not have the option of living at home rent-free or for a reduced rent so there has to be a budget for rent, groceries, utilities and more. More than once I have heard from friends at school that they were struggling to balance the responsibilities of work and school. 

Missing class, because you have to work to afford rent, is something that can happen every once in a while but if it becomes a regular situation, professors and the school will begin to notice. Your grades might drop, your attendance suffers and it is harder to connect to other students because you are never there. Is this really what you came to Canada and CapU for? 

Ask yourself if that outcome is the best way to handle your studies with a look into the future. It might seem like a good option at the moment but let me assure you that it is a temporary solution to a much bigger problem, the price of life in Canada. While I do not have a solution for inflation and our economy, I can suggest a few ways that might help with the anxiety of money. 

First, Capilano University offers scholarships every semester and a few of those are open to international students as well, just Google CapU and scholarships and scroll through the results until you find a good match. 

Second, there are scholarships outside of school that you can get through your bank, for example, or through social institutions. If you Google scholarships and B.C. there are a bunch of options to be found.

Third, you can apply for a line of credit with your bank. This is basically like a loan but international students do not often get the chance of applying for a loan, so this line of credit might be a good option — it can be paid back in the future when you hopefully have a well-paying job in the field of your studies. 

Another option might be to get a job at CapU directly. There are a variety of jobs offered to students each semester and most of them have their working hours during the hours CapU holds classes. So when CapU classes end, your job ends too — not to mention, the weekends are free as well. Getting a job at CapU could mean a stable source of income while also not having to worry about late night shifts or getting scheduled during your classes. The school works around your schedule. 

On the other hand, I would like to urge professors and the school to understand the situation international students are in better. Classes with mandatory attendance often cause problems in the student’s life that the school is not considering, at least it seems like that from a student’s perspective. Offering the course material online on eLearn might be another temporary solution to the bigger problem of rising rent and rising tuition. Still, it would ease the minds of students struggling to balance work and school. Hard deadlines are another issue that I see students struggle with, sometimes the schedule at work just does not allow for an essay to be done at midnight, but the professor will not allow submissions in the morning anymore. 

This is not to say that all international students face these struggles, but it is important to address them and find solutions. Reach out to the university, professors, the student union and see what options are available. We’re all in this together, and when we combine our voices there’s more chance to be seen and heard. We are many and we are loud, let us use our voices for the better.

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