Gaining confidence and making friends at UAlberta

An interview with current international student Remy Wu



Student Name: Remy Wu

Hometown: Anyang, China

Program: Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences (ALES)

Year: 2nd year


Moving abroad for University can seem scary at first, but as we found out from current UAlberta international student Remy Wu, moving away from home can be the perfect opportunity to gain confidence and make friends from all over the world.


“UAlberta is a really good University and I knew coming here there will be so many amazing people I would meet that I would not have met otherwise,” Remy mentions. She was, luckily, able to attend Dalian Maple Leaf International High School in her hometown of Anyang, China, that has the Canadian and Chinese educational systems combined. Choosing which country to move to for University was simple for Remy. She knew from her positive high school experiences that she wanted to go to Canada.  


Edmonton’s multiculturalism shocked Remy at first. She notes, “When I first came here, I didn’t expect to meet so many people from different countries.” UAlberta offers a first-class education system, a high quality of life and safe, welcoming environment. We’re proud to have over 6,000 international students from over 150 different countries, which as Remy describes, can be “a really good chance to view the world. It’s like a small global town.”  The diversity at UAlberta has been an opportunity for Remy to learn new things and expand her cultural horizons. She has made many Canadian friends and has also developed friendships with students from all over the world


“Studying at UAlberta has been a really good experience and being here has given me time to develop myself. Coming here has made me really proud of myself, that I was able to do many things that other people probably don’t do.”



Left: Dinner Remy hosted at UAlberta's International Centre | Right: Remy having a traditional Brazilian dinner.

Remy pushed herself out of her comfort zone and made friends from all different backgrounds, which she said was easier to do than she originally thought, because most of the people at UAlberta are very friendly and helpful. A lot of people say that travelling or moving abroad changes you for the better and Remy is living proof of this sentiment.


Attending the English as a Second Language Program (ESL) at UAlberta in her first year also helped her gain confidence and learn English.


“The ESL program was really helpful. I knew all the students were on the same level, since we were in the same class. I didn’t have any pressure and I just talked with all them. So if we had grammar mistakes or pronunciation problems, you knew it was okay and we were able to practice English a lot. Not only did I meet lots of people [through ESL], but I became more confident to talk to Canadians.”


Remy’s advice to students is to get involved! Joining clubs, volunteering for events or services like Safe Walk and living in residence, are a few of the ways that helped her gain confidence and meet new people on the UAlberta campus.



If you’re interested in learning more about UAlberta programs and admissions click here >




UAlberta: What are some of the tips that you would give to other international students coming to UAlberta?

Remy: Don’t feel ashamed or feel shy. Lots of people that I have seen are really shy and are nervous to speak to other people, but if you make the first step, it will make a huge difference. If I hadn’t have talked to all the different people in the ESL program, I would have [defeated] the point of coming here and getting out of my comfort zone.


And nobody will say “I don’t want to make a friend”. Actually, everybody wants to make friends. If you take the first step, you will make a connection. For the people, who really aren’t confident, I understand the feeling of being insecure. You can start with finding people who are in a similar program or other international students. It made me more confident and more comfortable to talk with people.

Also, go to the Orientation. It really makes a difference and helps you a lot. You learn where things are and if you need certain things, which service to go to. It really makes a difference.

U: What are some of the differences between Edmonton and Anyang, China?

R: The culture. When I came here, I didn’t expect to meet so many people from different countries. Coming to UAlberta has been a really good chance for me to view the world. It’s like a small global town. I have [made friends] from Pakistan, from Latin America, some friends from the Middle East. The environment is just so international.

U: What has living in residence been like?

R: The really good thing about Lister, it is a place that has lots of activities, that are really easy to get involved with, if you are willing to. In Lister, [you] have a [designated] lounge and floor, so you really become a part of them. There is dodgeball and floor meetings, where you will meet all the people. Plus there is a lot of international [students] and Canadians there, so there is so many different cultures. It is a good way to meet many, many people.

Left: Lister Hall, one of the UAlberta Residences | Right: Remy participating in a traditional Indian fashion show.

U: Have you been able to explore any other parts of Alberta or Canada while you’ve been here?

R: Before I came to Edmonton, I didn’t know how to ski or snowboard, but once I came here I tried both and now I am good at snowboarding. So I’ve gone to the mountains in Jasper and Banff.

U: What would you say is your favourite place or experience in Canada so far?

R: I would still say Edmonton. Many places are beautiful, but Edmonton is my favourite because I have lots of good memories here. Because of school (UAlberta) and meeting new people has made Edmonton really beautiful.

I love the fall here. Even if it’s just 2 or 3 weeks. It’s amazing here. Me and some of my friends also walk in the river valley in the summer. Also, the first snow in Edmonton - me and the Photography club went and took a bunch of pictures there too.

Edmonton's river valley and downtown in Autumn. Photo by Wei Wong.

U: What are some of your favourite places in Edmonton?

R: West Edmonton Mall. They have everything. It’s a shopping heaven. You go there and you have so many stores. When it’s cold outside, it’s a good indoor place and you can do so many things.

There also a laser tag place that has laser tag paint ball. It’s so fun. I also love to go to Rabbit Hill, to snowboard. I also went tobogganing once, it was so fun.

U: What has your program been like?

R: I really like nutrition and food marketing. I’ve been taking the course slow, but it’s good. Sometimes if the class is too big, it can be intimidating, but overall I really like it.

My favourite class is ALES 204 - it talks about business communication. I am so glad they had this class in my program. It teaches you how to talk with people and how to write business emails. Like talking and communication. It’s awesome.

U: How have your professors been?

R: They have given me confidence. I feel really [supported] and most of them are really helpful. I am able to talk to the professors often and they get to know me. It makes me feel more involved and it has improved my marks.



If you’re interested in learning more about UAlberta programs and admissions click here >



Article and interview by Alyssa Ott


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