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Siyu Liu

SFU Student
Beedie School of Business › Marketing

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Each of the volunteer experiences, long or short, was very precious for me. Not only did they give me a sense of being connected with others from a different culture, but I was also able to develop ideas about what I like and dislike, and got to know my strengths and weaknesses.

11:06 am.

This is a typical Friday morning. I am in the SFU Work Integrated Learning office, sitting on a chair and looking at the laptop screen. Everything looks normal and familiar. On my left-hand side, there is a co-op student, busy working on some PowerPoint slides...

If it was five years ago, I would never imagine this would happen to me. Looking back on the past few years, I cannot stop thinking about how surprising it is to have walked through the winding road of my life and reach the point of where I am.

When I first arrived in Canada and enrolled in Fraser International College (FIC), I was considering taking Psychology as my major, and started to go to FOCUS club, a club in SFU for the international students. I like knowing other people and their stories. However, after taking several semesters and watching a few videos, I gradually figured out that I don’t enjoy studying psychology or talking to patients. With bemusement, I decided to give up chasing the psychology degree.

Are there any other majors I could have a try? I asked some of the elder club friends. Their suggestion was that I should do something I find passion in. I thought about the courses I had taken: Literature, Kinesiology, Economics…I talked to myself, what about Economics? It’s easy and interesting.

Then I hesitated. My family sent me to Canada and expected me to learn front-end psychology knowledge. How would they react if I told them that I changed my mind. I called my family and falteringly told them about my decision, they were angry and annoyed but finally agreed to compromise. I became an Economics student! Soon after that, I took a further step and got into the Beedie School of Business.

As my study career was proceeding, I was enrolled in a large range of volunteer and part–time jobs, like weeding in public parks, giving out leaflets, measuring water quality, serving in a restaurant, taking care of children in a summer camp, teaching in a primary school...

Each of the volunteer experiences, long or short, was very precious for me. Not only did they give me a sense of being connected with others from a different culture, but I was also able to develop ideas about what I like and dislike, and got to know my strengths and weaknesses a lot better than before. For example, I found that: weeding is ok for me; I hate giving out leaflets; measuring and learning about water quality is interesting; I am not physically strong enough to work in a restaurant; I like children but don’t like teaching them...

Then it came the time to choose my concentration. Before I decided on my future study and work plan, I went to the “Self-Assessment & Finding Your Fit” workshop from Business Career Passport, which, I think, is one of the best choices I have made in my life. During the workshop, the advisor recommended a career test website to us and suggested us to do the questions online. With curiosity, I finished the questions (they are mostly about what I like and dislike, and my strength and weaknesses) and got an astonishing idea that I am most suitable for the career in marketing, right inside the business major.

Several semesters later, I did my first co-op job in marketing in China. I learnt about the functions of a marketing department in a real company, and really enjoyed doing marketing research and making reports. This experience narrowed down my interest, and convinced me that I should set my career goals in marketing.

Being an international student and studying in a second language is not easy. It means that we need to face many more challenges we have never thought about: study, work career, financial issues, cultural shock, and language barriers. At the same time, it also means that we have more opportunities to be exposed to a lot of new ideas and knowledge. This reversely guides us to figure out who we are and helps us to engage the world in better ways. 

As you may guess, I am now a fourth-year student doing the joint major of Economics and Business (Marketing) at SFU, and working as a project assistant at the Online Learning Community. On my right-hand side, there is a co-op student, busy working on the Photoshop…

At the end, I’d like to share one of my stories about cultural shock:

The first time I bought a monthly bus pass in a shop, the cashier gave me the card and asked me to pay $91 (at that time). I was surprised about how expensive the bus pass was (compared to the prices of bus passes in China), so I asked: is it for a month or for a year? The cashier laughed and said: For a month, of course.   

Beyond the Blog

  • To learn more about opportunites like Siyu's, visit SFU's Co-operative Education home page

  • Siyu found her job with the Online Learning Community (OLC) through SFU's Work-Study program. To learn more, see here. 

  • International Services for Students provides support for students seeking information regarding international learning opportunities. 

  • Siyu Liu Mar 25, 2017
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About the Author

Siyu Liu

SFU Student
Beedie School of Business › Marketing
Connect with Liu Siyu on LinkedIn
A photo of the author
library_books
Blog
My Life as an International Student: Becoming Different in a Different Culture
EAL Work Search Resources, Personal Development, International, Life Experience

If you are an international student struggling with language and culture barriers in Canada, you are not alone. Liu Siyu, is a fourth-year international student here to share her stories about study, work, and career. 

A photo of the author
library_books
Blog
My Life as an International Student: Becoming Different in a Different Culture
EAL Work Search Resources, Personal Development, International, Life Experience

If you are an international student struggling with language and culture barriers in Canada, you are not alone. Liu Siyu, is a fourth-year international student here to share her stories about study, work, and career.