STUDENT LIFE, EXTRACURRICULAR CLUBS AND ACTIVITIES
With the start of every school season, universities and colleges all throughout Canada prepare for the arrival of students.
Canada is known for its stellar educational institutions, and while academics are certainly important, there are other aspects of student life that are necessary for academic success. In this instalment of the #StudentLife Series, we take a look at extracurricular activities and clubs that Canadian institutions have to offer.
STARTING THE SEMESTER
The start of the semester is a time for students to get acquainted with all that is new in their school. In Canada, schools often host welcoming events at the beginning of the semester that students are encouraged to attend. It presents a perfect opportunity for students to immerse themselves in campus culture and get to know their fellow peers and school services. Normally, booths and tables are set up around campus that showcase the different extracurricular activities available.
Cultural clubs are important to many international students. Although Canada is a very welcoming country known for its multiculturalism and diversity, students may find themselves overwhelmed while traveling. As such, it is very important for Canadian schools that students feel secure and welcomed by all, regardless of gender, racial, cultural or religious differences. Cultural clubs help promote this philosophy, by creating an environment of like-minded individuals that share similar beliefs. In these clubs, members can establish themselves and ease through the process of integration during the first weeks of school. They allow people to discuss topics relating to their country of origin, speak in their native languages and simply hang out. Created by students for students, cultural clubs aim to bring a piece of home culture to Canada.
Throughout the semester, it is common for these groups to collaborate and organize events. Normally in the form of dance festivals and food fairs, these events invite individuals from different backgrounds to come together and enjoy unique cultural practices. This is a clear reflection of one of Canada’s most important values: promoting our strengths through diversity. With many events that go on year-round in Canada promoting multiculturalism, cultural clubs work in the same way by bringing different school clubs together.
Did you know that you can contact cultural club organizations before you come to Canada? This allows you to prepare and get a sense of what your community is like before you arrive.
Social clubs are special due to the diversity of clubs that students have access to. Like cultural clubs, social clubs aim to bring students with similar interests together. While these clubs can vary greatly, their large numbers allow anyone with a particular interest to find people who share that interest. Ranging from cooking classes and music groups to gaming clubs and Latin dance societies, the options for extracurricular activities are endless. These clubs allow students to foster strong friendships with their fellow peers and participate in activities that they love to enjoy.
If an academic-oriented club is more suited to your interests, there are even academic social clubs that focus on schoolwork or specific subjects. Students can work in groups for studying or tutoring and discuss different topics in academic-related fields. Robotics and Model United Nations are popular options for academic clubs and, depending on your institution, competitions between schools are possible.
FRATERNITIES AND SORORITIES
While not as common or institution-like as they are in the US, fraternities and sororities are still a popular social club choice in Canada. Founded on a specific set of values, fraternities and sororities set out to foster lifelong friendships in the bond of brother and sisterhood. With housing spaces often a part of the experience, you learn to live and be part of a cohesive unit. Surrounded by these students during the semester, many of your social interactions include these people, whether it be extracurricular or academic in nature. This makes fraternities and sororities the ideal venue to build friendships, improve leadership skills and network.
One of Canada’s greatest strengths comes from its diversity.
SPORTS AND INTRAMURALS
Canada’s weather varies throughout the year, offering different sporting options depending on the season. Taking advantage of the snowy months, Canada specializes in winter sports such as hockey, cross-country skiing and skating. Canadian schools often have access to ice rinks or outdoor environments to bring these rarer sporting options into the hearts of many. During the warmer months, Canada has many conventional sporting options, such as rugby, football and soccer for students to enjoy. Competitive in nature, these sports allow you to compete against neighbouring schools and usually require a commitment for the semester.
If competitive play is not your style, intramural sports can be a great option for you. While competitive leagues exist depending on the institution, intramurals are generally geared towards recreational play. They can be a great venue to try out new sports you aren’t well acquainted with and often have different skill caps for all levels of play. They focus more on friendly matches for a number of sports, such as soccer, basketball and hockey. Also, while most sporting options are seasonal, intramurals are often available throughout the year. This can be great for staying active during the offseason and honing your skills.