Many foreign people from different countries like the Philippines come to Canada as international students to chase their dreams of quality life. However, the high cost of tuition, groceries, and rent are pushing them to work more than one job and more than 8 hours a day.
Meca Castardo, a Seneca international student from the Philippines, decided to take a new journey in Canada. She juggles her time as a full time student, at the same time working on two jobs to support her studies and living expenses in order to reach her dream of becoming a professional in the hotel and restaurant business in Toronto.
She recalls her despairing feeling in the first weeks living alone as she has no family member or even relative she can be with.
“It was so hard for my mental health and also like if you do study and work at the same time, it is so hard to handle and I have to save a lot of money to pay for like my tuition fees, my rent, my food, my like phone bills and anything else, and also like I have to do everything alone and my English is not that fluent as well, so it’s hard for me to communicate and to interact with other people,” she expressed.
After a few months, she was able to adjust with the new environment she is in like the work hours, piling of expenses, and even the fast pace of studying.
Meca realised that her allotted funds was barely enough following the increasing prices of groceries and rising rental rates in Toronto.
She then takes on working on two jobs to sustain her needs. She would get up early for her first job in an event centre as a server. After that, she travels another hour to go on afternoon job as a service crew in a fastfood restaurant.
Later at night, she would get home and still have to allocate more energy for her to stay late to finish up her assignments.
“Even though I have a bachelor’s degree back in my home country, which is the Philippines, it’s so hard for me to get a job there. That’s why it will be a good opportunity for me to finish my studies here in Canada,” she said.
She would enumerate the numerous days she felt the exhaustion, lack of sleep, and devastation coming at the same time that many of the international students like her are also going through.
An expert talks about how they help students in terms of financial struggles.
Despite all those struggles she had encountered and more to be coming around, she sees these challenges as stepping stones toward her goal of a better career. She believes that these are essentials for her to become an effective employee and also share as reflection for others.
She then relates how she had overcome everything by trusting herself with the line ‘I can do it’ meaning it’s her choice to come here so she has to deal with it.
Many are also going through the same struggles may it be financial, mental or emotional but it has shown that most of them have succeeded through the continuous assistance of people they care for, the school institution and the government.