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A one-stop-shop for international students in Toronto










December 2011


Winter Wonderland12

8 EAST MEETS WEST A look at the Asian perception of male beauty

SURVIVAL 21 FINANCIAL Our guide on pening a bank account and navigating transit

SPORTS 11 MATCH, SET, GO A student shares his dream of playing for Canada’s cricket team




InFuze finds out what universities are doing to spice up their menus


Students find comfort in real life through reel life

14 STUDY HABITS The clash of academic cultures 15 SCHOLARSHIPS How to apply and what’s there for international students 18 MYTH OF BEING RICH The misconception of international students being wealthy 19 CAMPUS MARKETING Do school’s ads reflect the reality? 20 WORK PERMITS The difficulties of bureaucracy

HEALTH 16 UHIP Not a full coverage for everyone 17 SEX FOR STUDENTS A re-education on the basics


10 BALANCING CUSTOMS How students keeps up with religious traditions


Mixing faith and fashion in a multicultural city

22 RECIPES 3 quick meals to keep a balanced diet during school 23 STUDENTS’ CORNER You tell us why Toronto is such a unique city.

Swagat Salaam Karibu 欢迎 Benvenuto



Marhaba Khoshumadi


Dear international student, e know how you feel when you first arrive in this city: confused, curious and cold. We’ve been there. That’s why we started this magazine: a one-stop shop for all you international students. We hope to help you make the most out of your school years, because as ours are coming to a close, we’ve discovered that they’ve been some of the most memorable years of our lives. It’s a time where you grow and discover yourself, and as an international student, you have the added opportunity of discovering a new city and relishing in the excitement and thrill of starting afresh. We hope to be your friend and guide along the way, telling you all about how to connect with your culture — ­ be it food or festivals, how to get one of the most coveted work permits and what past international students have learned from their years here. So, read on, and begin exploring.


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EDITORIAL TEAM Chantelle Henriques Natalie Sequeira Aakanksha Tangri Erica Tiangco Janice Yeung

A welcome message from the City of Toronto Toronto is one of the top educational destinations in the world with over 25,000 international students from more than 100 countries. The world-class institutions, high quality of life and diversity make Toronto a top global educational destination. International students are an important part of Toronto’s economy and culture. The City of Toronto is committed to enhancing their positive experience while Yadav they study and live here. This year the city partnered with local universities and colleges to welcome over 1,100 new international students at Pearson Airport. The City celebrated international students at an event by presenting awards for their special contributions. Outside their studies, the City encourages students to enjoy Toronto’s arts, culture and neighbourhoods; and take advantage of programs and services available to them. They are most welcome here. Jagdish Yadav Senior Advisor, Education City of Toronto InFuze Magazine is printed by SPECTRACOLOR TRADE PRINTING

Destination Toronto The City of Toronto launched a program to welcome you at the airport. Too bad somone thought about it before they did NATALIE SEQUEIRA Parth Tadhani walked through the arrival gates at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on Christmas Eve 2010, bubbling with excitement. It was 8 a.m. local time and although he was exhausted after his16-hour flight from Ahmedabad, India, he was eager to start the next chapter of his post-secondary life in a new city. Five hours later, a dejected Tadhani, 21, was still at the airport. He stood by one of the main exits, stranded. The friend who he had arranged to meet and stay with had not shown up. Repeated calls to this friend, a former classmate from India, went unanswered. “It’s like what to do now? I think let me go back,” Tadhani said, recalling how scared he was. “I was so depressed.” Without any appropriate winter gear, Tadhani wasn’t willing to brave the below-zero temperatures. All he had to rely on was the address of his college and one other phone number – his friend’s relative. He decided to call and ask for help, and the relative offered to accommodate Tadhani for two weeks. To combat cases like Tadhani’s, this summer the City of Toronto launched the International

Student Welcome Program at the even helping them register at their airport. The program ran from college — all for the cost of transit Aug. 22 to Sept. 5, featuring welfare. come booths staffed by volunteers Tadhani was recognized by the who helped over 1,000 students. city at a reception for international The idea for the program was students Oct. 14 at city hall where conceived in 2010 as part of he received an award for outstandan initiative by the province to ing community service. increase the number of interna“It was very exciting. I had no tional students by 50 per cent in idea I can get this much three years, according to Jagdish appreciation,” he said, smiling. Yadav, the city’s advisor for educa- “I just help; I have no means of tion, economic development and reward…It’s all for the sake of my culture. mind.” Yadav was hired by the city to Tadhani graduates next April research the impact of internabut intends to stay in Toronto and tional students on the city and try to get permanent residency look into ways to attract and retain before pursuing a master’s degree. them. He plans on continuing his welSitting beside a large window come program for an in the common area overlooking indefinite period. his Centennial College Progress campus where he is studying for To hear the interview with a diploma in electro-mechanical Tadhani and read more on the city’s program go to engineering, Tadhani talks about how he was then inspired by the small act of his friend’s relative. So inspired, he created his own small-scale welcoming initiative before the city did. Tadhani gets help from a community centre in his home town. He doesn’t just meet students at the airport, instead helping them around Parth Tadhani won an award for the city, showing them outstanding community service how to navigate the from the City of Toronto for his transit system and personal welcome program.





JANICE YEUNG International students experience culture shock and the feeling of missing home during their first few years in Toronto. The quick solution? Entertainment. In our report, we find international students to tell us what’s on their iPods, what shows they watch in-between classes and which hometown celebrities they still keep track of even when they’re in Canada. Read on to find out what international students watch and listen to to help them ease their yearning for home. From left: Hwanjun Yu and In-Kyung Chang study at Robarts Library; Hong Kong drama ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ streamed on


South Korean In-Kyung Chang was studying with her Korean friend at Robarts Library on a Friday afternoon. Having her headphones on, she was listening to her favorite Korean pop tunes, which filled up her iPod. Her favorite boy band is BIGBANG, a popular group of five guys. Her favorite Korean shows include a popular reality-variety show 1 Night 2 Days and Infinite Challenge.

INDIAN SHOWS Tanvi Mehta is a U of T engineering student from Dubai. Some of her favorite shows include Star World India’s Simi Selects India’s Most Desirable and Emotional Atyachaar. Like most Indian students, she closely follows Indian cricket teams. “It is not the national sport, it is more than the national sport,” she said.


Lily Lau, a third year U of T student is streaming her favorite Cantonese dramas.



Chinese novels fill up her bookshelves, colourful tops and dresses cover up the bed in her condo in Chinatown. Lily Lau has just got home from class at 6 p.m. on a Friday. She turned on her HP notebook computer. As soon as her desktop icons appeared on the screen, Lau opened up the video-streaming software and started watching a popular Cantonese drama Can’t Buy Me Love. Her favorite Hong Kong television actor is Kenneth Ma Kwok Ming.


Digest this: We find out what campuses are doing to make their menus more diverse

t home a l e e f ant to w t s ome.” u j h s t g n n e i e d “Stu se of b n e s t a ring th b n a c d and foo



n Fridays, Aalia Maruthalingam rushes home to her off campus apartment after class, grabs her reusable shopping bags and is off again. She wantss to reach her favourite grocery store before it closes. Aalia is a fourth-year student at the University of Toronto in Scarborough. She came to Toronto from Sri Lanka to study. Her new favourite place to buy groceries is an Indian grocer, Royal Kerala Foods, located at Lawrence Avenue and Victoria Park in Scarborough. Whether choosing to buy your own groceries or purchasing food on campus, someinternational students in Toronto will go to great lengths to find ethnically diverse foods. Huddled at the intersection of St.George and Harbord Streets in Toronto, about two dozen students brave the brisk late September weather and take their place in line to get a taste of China. The line in front of Robarts library at the University of Toronto is a common sight around lunchtime. The reason for the line? A red and white street vendor truck named “Wokking on Wheels”. With dishes ranging from sweet and sour pork, to basil fish all under seven dollars, it is easy to see why this Chinese restaurant on wheels is a favourite. Third-year student Kat Toh said

Above: Some of the new food items added to cafeterias located on the York University Keele campus.

she eats from “Wokkingon Wheels” about once a week. Moving from Singapore to Toronto in 2009, Toh is happy she came across this unique Chinese vendor. “The food is good and authentic flavour,” she said in broken English. Kat introduced her friend Guoyong Hor to the menu. “This is my first time eating here,” Hor said with a smile. “Aramark food services is

trying to change the way that students digest the concept of food by bringing new items to their cafeterias. Otilia Kiss, director of food services at York University, says Aramark is trying to create menu items that better reflect students. “Students just want to feel home and food can bring that sense of being home,”Kiss said. To see more delicious food go to

Students chow down on the new foods provided by Aramark on campuses in Toronto.



LIFESTYLE Left to right: J Crew hair products. owner Daniel Rodrigues, hair cutting station

Asian Persuasion: Male spas are a growing trend in Asia-Are Toronto men catching on?

Left: An aftershave known as Eraser Bump is a powpular men’s product in Toronto.



Cheung (above) models his fashion style.



atthew Cheung a 20-yearold student at the University of Toronto strolls down St. George Street, his black trench-coat unbuttoned and flaring against the brisk November winds. He is an average height and weight, but what makes him stand out is his fashion-sense. Sporting lemon-yellow sneakers, a white-button down shirt and a pale blue cardigan, Cheung turns some heads on campus. “It is important to look fine whenever I go out,” Cheung said. Cheung, an economics major, says it usually takes him 35-40 minutes to get ready for the day. Young men like Cheung, are becoming increasingly more interested in self-grooming products such as skin care products and hair gels. “I think [appearance] is quite important. Many people in Hong Kong care about money, power, and

physical appearance of course,” Cheung said. While skin care products may be popular in Eastern Asia, Mike Ma a third year student at the University of Toronto, originally from mainland China, says he prides fashion sense. “I usually try to dress well even if I’m just going to the library to study,” Ma said. Now Toronto is following suit. A spa for men called Metrosexual spa located in Toronto opened in March 2011 and has since seen a steady increase in demand. Spa owner, Daniel Rodrigues says he was surprised to find out not many male spas exist. “I was shocked that the city of Toronto didn’t have an all encompassing facility for men,” Rodrigues said. Rodrigues says it’s not about cultural background, but being successful in general. “Men are getting facials and waxed to keep up their A-game. It’s a competitive market both for dating and for job opportunities,” Rodrigues said. For a virtual tour of Metro Spa visit


Unveiling Toronto’s fashion

Zahra Khosrashahi poses while wearing a deep red hijab from Iran

lim women who cover their hair entirely, Khosroshahi wears her hiahra Khosroshahi is a fun jab in a unique way. She reveals a and fashionable 22-year-old. bit of her hair, mainly at the front, Her sense of style is simple yet and has the hijab loosely coverup-to-date with today’s changing ing the middle to back parts of her trends. Like most students at the hair and neck.With over 70 head University of Toronto, she keeps scarves in her wardrobe, she has in e m s e c a l her wardrobe a wide array of coloured t kind of p i r a e w I simple and at.” veils to match any outfit. he way h T t “ h t i w casual when “I have given it my own o problem n e v a h I on campus. sense of style and fashs and both world However, ion. I live in Canada and I do to outside of her symbolizes my a large extent follow the fashion studies, she trades faith. It’s not all that I am and my that I’m exposed to. However, it in her comfortable wardrobe for scarf does not define me. Instead I doesn’t stop me from also following something more fashionable. Her define it. I give it its meaning and my religious beliefs of modesty.” Facebook profile features several position in my life,” she said. For more on Toronto fashion visit pictures of her out with friends in But unlike most traditional MusERICA TIANGCO


heels and her make-up done with accessories to match. But Khosroshahi has one particular accessory that follows her at all times regardless of her surroundings: her hijab. “It’s important to me because first and foremost it




A tricky balance Students struggle to continue cultural traditions in Toronto

Jangwal’s miniature temple in his dorm room rests on his bookshelf.



s the night sky lit up with thousands of fireworks, people in high-spirits spilled onto the streets, drowning out the sound of music that blasted from every nook and corner with their incessant chatter. India had come alive to celebrate its most famous festival — Diwali, the festival of lights. In Toronto, Anant Jangwal was tucked away in his university’s library studying for midterms but his mind was wandering to the scenes of exuberance he’s experienced when celebrating Diwali in India. Jangwal, a fourth-year marketing student at the University of Toronto, says he’s had a different experience celebrating Diwali in the four years he’s been in Toronto. On Diwali, this year, not only did he have a midterm to study for but he waited the whole day to physically exchange Diwali

greetings with someone, an unusual scene when compared to India where the hustle and bustle during Diwali doesn’t leave anyone breathing space. Fortunately for Jangwal, his professor agreed when he asked if he could write the midterm on another date and go celebrate the festival with family friends visiting from India. “I had the chance to do something on Diwali this year because my professor was kind enough to let me write it on another

Toronto would be very different from what he was used to. “I realized that Canada is so strict about such trivial issues,” he said. Jangwal isn’t alone in feeling cut off from religious and cultural celebrations. It’s a feeling many international students are familiar with. The lacklustre atmosphere on campus and in Toronto during these festivals is one reason international students say they feel homesick. Having to adjust from countrywide celebrations with everyone partaking in the festivities to a monotonous regular day in Toronto is a common complaint among students. The euphoria that surrounds him during festivals like Diwali is one of the main reasons Jangwal wants to eventually move back to India. “I’ll be happier during special occasions back home where the festival is recognized and celebrated.” “That’s the importance Diwali holds for me.”

ers k c a r c e r urst fi b o t d e allow t ’ n e r e er us” t f a e “We w m ps ca o c e h t so date,” Jangwal said. He spent the day with his friend devouring Indian food and sweets. They also paid a visit to the temple and in true Diwali spirit — ­ burst some firecrackers. But his Diwal may remain his most eventful yet. “I was with friends and we had a cracker and we went outJangwal reads the side our university residence Hanuman Chalisa, and burst the cracker,” he said. a holy Hindu scrip“We weren’t allowed to burst ture, every morning. firecrackers so the cops came after us.” It was then, he realized, celebrating Hindu festivals in



To see a video of how international students celebrate festivals go to

Keeping up with cricket


World’s second most popular sport thriving in Toronto AAKANKSHA TANGRI


he first thing that strikes you about Preet Singh is his confidence and swagger. Once you hear the traces of Punjabi in his accent, you are reminded of Yuvraj Singh, the renowned Indian cricketer. The same slow thick drawl, the same body build, the stubble on the face and a passion for cricket. They even went through the same grueling grind as aspiring cricketers practicing at the Mohali Cricket Stadium in Punjab, India. The only difference is that while Yuvraj is now one of India’s highest paid athletes, Preet gave it up on his parents’ insistence to focus on his education. Now, 26, he’s in his final semester studying global business management at Humber College and has picked up the game again. “Cricket is my passion. I love cricket. If there’s rain or snow outside, I will still go and play because I love this game so much,” Singh says. After moving to Toronto in January 2010, Singh’s friends forced him to go try out for a local club after watching him hammer them in a friendly game. He was selected to play

a spot on a domestic club. It may be the second most Preet Singh hopes to play for the Canadipopular sport in the world an cricket team. He but for international studeveloped a passion for the game growing dents like Singh, Toronto’s up in India. dominant sport, hockey is alien, too violent and boring. “I didn’t know about ice hockey in India and what is that other sport called?” Singh asked, imitating the swing of a baseball bat. As a cricket player, Singh thinks the future of cricket in Toronto is bright due to the increasing population of South Asian immigrants. “In South Asia, cricket is religion and when they move to Toronto they want to play it here,” he said. Even if they do as an allhave to slightly modify the game. rounder in fourth-division for “The weather is our biggest probthe GTA Challengers under the lem in Toronto,” he said. Toronto and District Cricket AsWith the introduction of Action sociation. Cricket Canada, indoor cricket Looking at his impressive perforpitches, in September 2011 crickmance, he was then promoted to et fans in Toronto can rejoice. play first-division for the Brave Lions Cricket Club. Action Cricket comes to Canada “In 18 months, I’ve gotten to the premier league instead of wasting Indoor cricket arena that will let enthusiasts play wall-year round four years. In 2012, I will play for either premier or elite,” Singh Netting cages and restaurants said. and sports bar He hopes to eventually play for Will feature live cricket matches the Canadian Cricket Team befrom around the world cause of less competition instead of going back to India and trying Competitive leagues for all ages to battle it out among thousands including school children of aspiring cricketers to secure

there’s f I . t e k c i r “I love c ay.” l p d n a o g I will still


outs w o n s r o n rai

11 InFuze



Discovering Toronto

The Santa Claus parade is one of the large It started in 1905 and has become an annu get bigger and better every year. Back in i hundred years ago, the parade only had on Mrs. Claus was featured in the event with hits the streets of Toronto each year in mid-November with more than half a million attending.

Skating outdoors in Toronto should be on the bucket list of every newcomer. The city hosts two main public outdoor skating rinks located at Nathan Philip’s Square just outside of City Hall and the Harbourfront Centre overlooking Lake Ontario. Each is accessible by the TTC and offers hot food on-site or within walking distance. The rinks are generally open from mid-November until mid-March weather permitting and are open daily. The Natrel Rink at the Harbourfront Centre even features DJ Skate Night every Saturday night where visitors can enjoy skating to a wide variety of music.

Explore the city’s must-see winter hot spots


DISTILLERY CHRISTMAS MARKET The Distillery District’s Christmas Market is one of the newer events to hit Toronto. Only in its second year, the event attracts thousands of people, both tourists and locals, as the historic district is transformed into a Christmas Village. Though it’s still new to Toronto, the concept has been around for more than 800 years throughout Europe. The indoor-outdoor village features a gorgeously designed 45-foot tall White Spruce tree draped with 18,000 lights, a huge ferris wheel, live musical performances, restaurants, shopping, outside bars, carolers and fairy-tale characters just to mention a few attractions. There are countless miniature wooden houses built, each covered in lights that feature specialty baked goods, foods and crafts for sale. The free event runs every day from early to mid December.




Starting people f red velv Compan glimpse Macy’s i the meti miniatu little ac


What you’ll need

est events in Toronto at Christmastime. ual event ever since which seems to its humble beginnings more than a ne float. For the first time in history, her own float. The free event usually


g early November through to the New Year, from all over can be seen crowded behind the vet ropes in front of the Hudson Bay ny’s windows on Queen Street. to catch a e of the immaculate creations. Similar to infamous window displays in New York City, iculously decorated windows feature ure villages, houses and people with every ccessory to match.

Make sure you grab yourself a pair or thick gloves or mittens along with a cozy scarf. These items will help keep your hands, neck and face protected. Scarves also offer a splash of colour to your wardrobe and can be worn both indoors and outdoors. Available retailers : The Bay, Zellers, Danier, Roots, Sears, H&M, the Gap A warm winter hat is one of the most vital pieces to purchase for the winter season. The majority of heat that escapes the body is through the head, so be sure to lock in all that warmth with a thick knit or lined hat that covers the ears. Available retailers : H&M, Zara, Old Navy, the Bay, Zellers, Wal-Mart A durable winter jacket is the most essential item for any Torontonian’s wardrobe. Make sure the jacket is lined with fleece or filled with duck down to help keep you warm this season. Available retailers : Aritzia, Urban Behaviour, Old Navy, H&M, SportChek Thick and cozy socks are another musthave for the winter season. Make sure your winter boots are roomy enough for some extra padding. This will help keep your feet warm when walking through snow or slush. Available retailers : Zellers, Wal Mart, Mark’s Work Wearhouse Last but not least, insulated and/or waterproof winter boots will help protect your feet when walking through the city. Make sure they have a good grip on the soles to prevent any slips or falls on icy roads. Available retailers: The Shoe Company, Zellers, Wal-Mart, Aldo, Sterling, Browns





With a large majority of international students being Asian, Toronto’s universities experience a culture clash of eastern and western study habits on campus. JANICE YEUNG

STATS Toronto welcomes about 20,000 students from around the world each year to pursue their postsecondary education in this city. Among these students, almost 70 per cent are from Asia.

CONTROVERSY The Canadian news magazine Maclean’s front page article wrote that some universities are called “Asian schools” because “that Asian students work harder is a fact born out by hard data. They tend to be strivers, high achievers and single-minded in their approach to university.”

RESEARCH PROOF Professors Barbara Schneider and Yongsook Lee wrote in “A Model for Academic Success: The School and Home Environment of East Asian Students”: “Superior motivation to achieve academically and personality characteristics such as docility and industriousness are seen as the major reasons for Asian academic success.”

PARENTS’ EXPECTATIONS Having completed his Bachelor’s degree in his hometown Guangdong, Hang Li landed in Canada in 2008 to study computer science. “Sometimes my parents push me so hard,” he said “You’ve just got to fulfill their expectations, every parent does that to their children.”

ASIAN HARDWORKERS “The Asian style is to focus on academics,” said Soon Fay Yee, a Ryerson engineering student from Malaysia. “International students are naturally very hardworking. When you’re too focused on something, there is just no time to even sleep or eat.”



MESSAGE The “Asian nerd” in university might just as well turn out to be the computer company entrepreneur you work for in the future. Message here: Be open minded and try not to put everyone of the same ethnicity into the same box.


Scholarships attract top students CHANTELLE HENRIQUES

The Leslie L. Dan Pharamacy building at the University of Toronto is home to many top gradute students.


iladri Chattopadhyay, clad in a plaid shirt and khaki pants, enters the awaiting elevator, presses floor two and backs up into the furthest corner. Chattopadhyay who is in his late 20’s, is in the Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy building located at 144 College St. in Toronto. He is a graduate student at the University of Toronto’s pharmacy department. Chattopadhyay came to Toronto from India with an undergraduate degree in pharmacy in 2007. Since that time he has been a graduate student at the faculty of pharmacy researching cures for breast cancer under Dr. Raymond Reilly. “After I trained as a pharmacist I realized that to make a mark in the pharmaceutical industry [...] I need the most minimal qualification [to be a doctor], which is a PhD,” Chattopadhyay said. But the problem with wanting to pursue your dreams is the lack of funds available-especially to international students who already pay three times more tuition than domestic students. One day in 2009 Chattopadhyay walked amongst the test tubes, magnetic shields and machines in the lab and answered the phone to a very exciting opportunity- a call from his supervisor who said he had good news for him. Chattopadhyay had received the prestigious Vanier Scholarship. “Five years down the road [...] I want to go back to India and contributeto the biotech community there,” Chattopadhyay said. To hear the full interview with Niladri go to

Scholarships 101 n The Vanier scholarship was created in 2009. n Since the launch of the Vanier scholarship, 504 awards have been given out and 119 of those awards have been to international students.

Niladri Chattopadhyay is a recipients of the prestgious Vanier Scholarship.

n International students are eligible for scholarships during their studies and can receive awards based on their GPAs. n Scholarships give graduate students $50,000 a year for three years.




Unhealthy coverage All international students have a health plan, but one student had to look elsewhere to get better NATALIE SEQUEIRA


or Ellie Kim, leaving university for seven months in January 2011 started with what she thought was just indigestion. She slowly started skipping classes for days at a time, until she fell too far behind to go back. Nauseated and dizzy, Kim, 23, went to her university’s health centre at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC), where she is a third-year student in the joint journalism program with Centennial College. “They didn’t let me see a real doctor,” she said, recalling that there was no doctor in the health centre at the time. There was only a nurse available,who recommended she go to a nearby public walk-in clinic instead. Kim, an international student from South Korea, is one of thousands of international students studying at a university in Toronto, covered by the mandatory University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP). It costs upward of $600 per year and international students cannot opt out. The clinic Kim visited was part of what UHIP refers to as the preferred provider network (PPN) — a group of hospitals and walkin clinics that accept UHIP and don’t require upfront payments. The clinic’s doctor gave her some anti-nausea medication and told her to go to an emergency room if she didn’t feel better. It wasn’t the personal treatment Kim was used to at home. She didn’t want to risk visiting just any doctor because they could be outside the PPN, and she would have to pay out-of-pocket — a cost she couldn’t afford. Unhappy with what she thinks was the doctor’s dismissal College student? Find out what your she decided to go back to South Korea for treatment, where health plan covers she was diagnosed with severe anemia and gastritis. wPays for doctor’s visits to treat new urgent condiAfter recovering at home, she returned to continue her tions studies, but is taking elective courses until she can retake wPays for treatment at an Emergency Room at the the semester she missed in January 2012. Read more on UHIP, college health coverage and a student initiative to incorporate UHIP into Canada’s universal health care system at



Hospital wX-rays, blood and urine tests



Let’s talk about SEX, baby

Unzipping Toronto’s sexy culture ERICA TIANGCO


he University of Toronto Scarborough’s (UTSC) Women’s Centre room is situated in a quieter area of the university’s busy campus. As students enter, they are immediately greeted by a colourful wall filled with bright yellow and pink pamphlets. Now, these aren’t just any ordinary pamphlets, these pamphlets are all about sex. To the left hand side of the pamphlet wall is a bowl on a small table with a sign reading, “Don’t even ask! Just take one” with a smiley face drawn on it. The bowl is filled with a variety of flavoured condoms for students to take. “I was afraid to pick them [pamphlets] up because I thought they were too graphic for me,” said Ashwini Prakash, external coordinator at UTSC’s women centre. Prakash admits she also had never seen a condom before entering the centre. “It was funny because I was a volunteer and I was supposed to hand them out but I didn’t know what to hand out because I didn’t

“I was

know which one was the condom. It was really embarrassing,” she said laughing. In 2008, Prakash moved from Kuwait to Canada after being accepted to U of T. She attended a strict conservative school where teachers wouldn’t even mention the word sex. Students weren’t provided with what western schools would consider adequate sex-ed, but instead, they got “Women’s menstrual

s] up

mphlet a p [ m e h t k c i p afraid to


re too g e w y e th t h g u o use I th


students a discount, as they aim to promote safe sex. “Buying condoms shouldn’t be something that you’re embarrassed to do. You’re being responsible and you’re getting laid,” laughed Pam Goldsworthy, manager of the store’s Queen Street location. “ [...] I think Canadians are constantly embracing it [sexuality] as we’re constantly confronted with the fact that no one else has these freedoms,” she said.

health education,” as Prakash puts it. Luckily, there are a growing number of sex-centred stores throughout the GTA that promote safe and exciting sex for both males and females. Condom Shack, advertised as Toronto’s best sex store, features hundreds if not thousands of condoms, in addition to countless sex toys. The company even offers

Did YOU know? Approx. 25% of university women in Canada are affected by HPV (human papillomavirus) n


is the most common sexually transmitted infection in Canada and there are over 40 different types



EDUCATION THE ASSUMPTION There’s the assumption that international students are well off . “Transfer students have to pay more fees so I guess they are richer,” said Meshal Fatima, a fourth-year student who grew up in Toronto.


Meshal Fatima

Residences, extra medical and dental insurance and campus meal plans can all be targeted at the consumer group of foreign students, who generally do not have families in Canada they could live with, a government health plan they could follow or a car to drive to get to food places outside of campus.

Top: International students attending U of T’s Winter Masquerade Party Bottom: Anthea Chan, student from Hong Kong, shopping at a thrift store.


Education was never meant to be for the privileged. JANICE YEUNG


Lim Jae Hee

Top and bottom: Chinese students at the Courthouse Nighclub on a Saturday night.

Through research done for this article, there is a misconception of foreign students being wealthier. Take for example Lim Jae Hee, an International Language Academy student from Korea. He comes from an average-income family. “Most international students like me are not eligible for support from the government,” he said.

LOOKING FOR A PART-TIME JOB Another international student, Natalie Lo, is a third-year Management student at UTSC from Hong Kong. “My family is not rich,” she said. “I don’t have a car, and I chose the place I am living in now because it is so close to school, I don’t need to pay for transportation fees. I also don’t have brand name clothes or accessories like some others.” She has applied for a student work permit in Canada so that she can find a part-time job to support her daily expenses and help pay part of her tuition.



Natalie Lo


Even advertising requires the truth. Unlike local students, international students do not always have the option of taking campus tours before choosing which university to apply to. Just by relying on viewbooks and online material, most of them simply use their imagination to visualize what the campus will be like before they arrive. But are their expectations met when they arrive in Toronto and see the real thing? JANICE YEUNG

INTRODUCTION “Live and learn in the heart of Canada’s most vibrant city.” “Discover and deepen your passions.” These are phrases an international student would typically read in a university’s viewbook before deciding which school to apply to in their last year of high school. One may wonder how international students gather information and decide which overseas university to go to. Is it from hearsay, world rankings,or through promotional campaigns done by universities who could afford it?


“My program requires more self-discipline than what is reflected in the university’s promotional materials,” said Hae-in Lee, a second-year Illustration student at Ontario’s College of Art and Design University (OCAD U).

Brochures: “I looked at a lot of the promotional brochures,” said Fangky Peng, a third-year U of T environmental studies student from Southern China. “U of T has a lot.”

Fangky Peng from Southern China had never been to the University of Toronto before she applied to the well-known school. When asked about whether the school lived up to her expectations, she responded that she was happy with the campus life, but felt she was misinformed about academic life at U of T. “It is more stressful and there is more of a workload than what I thought,” she said. “The pamphlet’s say that you can enjoy a good amount of campus life while also being able to devote the same amount of time to work. But in reality, if you want higher marks, you need to devote more time to your courses and sacrifice your social life.” Hae-in Lee, a second -year Illustration student at Ontario’s College of Art and Design University (OCAD U) also commented that the promotional brochures she read gave her the impression that she could have a vibrant social life while maintaining good grades

We try to be very honest in our promotional materials .... Our materials are quite factual with mainly program information, there is not much room for fluff.

- Michelle Beaton, Manager of International Recruitment at Ryerson University at the same time. “We try to be very honest in our promotional materials,” said Michelle Beaton, the Manager of International Recruitment at Ryerson University. She explained that Ryerson’s viewbook does not have any photos of the campus in winter because there is not a lot of room for pictures (even though there were a couple of pictures on every single page of the 132-page booklet). “Pictures when it’s snowing or raining are not very attractive,” said Beaton. But snowy or rainy days happen all the time in the city of Toronto (where snowfall can happen any time from November until mid-April). Judging from the international students’ responses in this article, we guess they wouldn’t mind a bit more straightforwardness in the materials they read before dedicating four years to their post-secondary education in a foreign city.




Buriedunder bureaucracy International students have so many permits to keep track of. Why one student had a near-catastrophic experience with her standard application.


between the old, blank TV studio screens and the table, shaking her estled in one of the red, intehead as she thinks about her ordeal rior pockets of Yeamrot Tadand tries to describe the relief she dese’s black wallet is a Canada Post felt when the tracking number led Corporation receipt. Taddese, 20, to the person who had received and used to despise her habit of hoardsigned for her permit. ing receipts, until this one saved her “My life was saved,” she said, life. smiling. “For me to have to pack On March 31, 2011, the fourthand leave...because of some stupid year journalism and health studies mistake [CIC] made? It would have student applied to renew her study cost me a year of my life!” permit. It was a pretty straightforAlthough CIC didn’t have a record ward application: fill in the docuof her application, they referred her ments and mail them to Citizenship to their express office — she got the and Immigration Canada (CIC) on permit in 10 days. time. Three months later, after her Taddese is no amateur at applicalegal status to stay in Canada extions. Since she came here, she’s pired, she called CIC to find out why applied for two other study permit she had not received her new study renewals and two off-campus work permit. permits, spending over $700. TadThe response? They had received dese plans on applying for a postnothing, she was now illegally in graduation work permit and will the country, and without proof also apply for permanent resiof sending the document, she dence status in the future. PERMITS 101 would have to go back home The bane of all these appliwNever let your study permit expire. It to Ethiopia and reapply. Tadcations, she finds, is the repetiis the one document you need to stay in dese, who is enrolled in a joint tious filling of forms. Canada. Also look at when your program between the University “Immigration applications passport expires. of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) are the number one thing I will wAlways keeps copies of everything you and Centennial College, came not miss when I die,” she said, to Toronto five years ago for laughing. do: filled forms, receipts, transactions high school with her sister and and phone conversations (names). her mother, who stays here unRead more on students and permits at wVisit your school’s international centre der temporary resident status. or call CIC if you have any queries.




The idea of having to go back alone had her in tears. Already grappling with living in a new city and a demanding academic load, the stress on international students of maintaining eligibility and wrapping their minds around when and how to apply can get really confusing. Students apply for off-campus, co-op, post-graduation and travel permits, and ultimately permanent residency. Desperate, Taddese turned her room upside down to try and find her postage receipt. Rifling through her wallet, she discovered the crucial receipt from Canada Post, and it had a tracking number. Sitting in an empty corner of the newsroom at the Centennial College Centre for Creative Communications, Taddese shifts her gaze


Navigating the essentials We tell you how to get through the nitty-gritty of banking and transit


Transferring money l Scotia Bank has a tie-up with Western Union which charges a $9 charge plus a 1% of the amount sent lICICI caters specially to the needs of Indian students



What you need to open a bank account: lA valid passport

lLetter of acceptance from your post-secondary institution lA valid study permit

Transit Fares lPost-Secondary Students Metro pass:

$99.00 lSingle fare: $3.00 lAdult tokens are sold in multiples of five. l 5 tokens: $12.50

Did you know? lIn Oct. 2011, the TTC carried its

28th billionth rider lHas third largest ridership in North America l501 streetcar route is one of the longest in North America




Meals in 30 minutes or less Blueberry-Strawberry Breakfast Shortcake Ingredients 1 frozen whole wheat waffle, lightly toasted 1/2 cup Fat Free Cottage Cheese 1/4 cup honey-flavored multi-grain cereal flakes with cinnamon-flavored clusters 1/4 cup sliced strawberries 1/4 cup blueberries

Cooking Instructions Warm waffle with remaining ingredients. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Veggie-Packed Pita Pocket Ingredients 2 carrots, shredded 2 Tbsp. sliced black olives 2 Tbsp. KRAFT Tuscan House Italian Dressing and Marinade 2 whole wheat pita breads, cut in half 2 Tbsp. Philadelphia Neufchatel Cheese, softened 2 lettuce leaves, torn in half 1 red pepper, cut into 8 rings

Cooking Instructions

Saucy Chicken & Spinach Skillet

Combine carrots, olives and dressing. Spread insides of pitas with Neufchatel. Fill with lettuce, peppers and carrot mixture.

Ingredients 1/2 lb. linguine, uncooked 1-1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces 4 cloves garlic, minced 1 Tbsp. olive oil 1 jar (24 oz.) spaghetti sauce 1 pkg. (6 oz.) baby spinach leaves 1 cup Kraft Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Cooking Instructions Cook pasta as directed on package, omitting salt. Meanwhile, cook and stir chicken and garlic in hot oil in deep large skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat 3 min. or until chicken is no longer pink. Add sauce; simmer on medium-low heat 8 to 10 min. or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally. Add spinach; cook 1 min., stirring frequently. Drain pasta. Serve topped with chicken mixture and cheese. *Courtesy of Kraft Canada




You tell InFuze your most memorable experiences in Toronto

CRICKET OFF-SPIN “We started playing cricket in the dorm rooms. Some Canadian roomates who had no idea what cricket was started playing with us.” - Varun Harirajan, 4th year student at University of Toronto from India

CONFIDENCE MATTERS “Toronto most of all taught me to be yourself and have no qualms about being yourself because there’s going to be nobody like you.” - Thomas Haskell, 4th year student at York University, from Trinidad and Tobago

TRANSIT ANTICS “I’ve seen creepy looking people on the TTC. I’ve seen a guy, he took out this brown envelope and gloves and started rubbing on a pole in the TTC.” - Aya Kishida, 2nd year student at OCAD, from Japan

PRETTY IN THE CITY “It is important to look fine whenever I go out [in Toronto]. I ususally don’t leave the house without my contact lenses.” - Matthew Cheung, 3rd year student at University of Toronto, from Hong Kong

InFuze Magazine  

A one-stop-shop for international students in Toronto. Check out our magazine online.

InFuze Magazine  

A one-stop-shop for international students in Toronto. Check out our magazine online.