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Why I’m Here

March 11, 2016
Andrea Westfall, MAIIC On Campus Student

Eye brows raise and heads go to one side. They look at me with curiosity and wonder. And then they ask me the same question that everyone before them has asked. “Why would you come to Canada for school if you live in the United States?” I smile.

You see, I’ve always loved being in a different place. I have always loved being surrounded by peoples, cultures, music, foods, smells, and sights far different than what I grew up with. My best friends of childhood were Ukranian. My high school friends and study partners for English class were from Japan. And at one time, I kissed an African American man with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. My love of diversity couldn’t only be contained in my own hometown. I had to travel. I had to experience other countries. I had to see if they brushed their teeth like I did.

And so I traveled. I went to the curry-scented streets of India. I went to the Himalayan countryside of Nepal. I went to the beautiful south pacific tropics of the Solomon Islands, the historically modern city of Rome, the cobblestone streets of Bad Homburg, Germany, and so many more. I loved it. I loved how my senses were overloaded, with wonder and discovery being my closest companions.

When I decided to go to school for my Masters in Intercultural and International Communication, I knew I couldn’t stay in the United States. No, I had to go somewhere else. I considered Australia, the United Kingdom, England and even a few countries in Asia. Yet, none of their programs drew me in like Royal Roads’ did.

Okay, so Canada isn’t very far from where I live. Admittedly, I’m only a short five hours from all my comforts and familiarities.  But it’s different. The people are more relaxed, the scenery is breathtaking, French words dance everywhere I read, and diversity abounds. Canada is different.

But I think the biggest reason I pursued Royal Roads program was to meet all the different students. I knew I would be the minority in my class and it excited me. I was eager to be surrounded by people who had their own beauties, their own way of laughing, their own favorite types of music and their own preferences of food. I was eager to learn, to be challenged, to find new friendships with the world.

I’m so thankful that I am here. I’m so thankful that I get to be a part of a bigger purpose. I’m so thankful that I get to experience the treasures of our world in one classroom.

I’m glad people ask me why I came here. I simply raise my eyebrows, smile and tell them why.

Andrea is a current student on the MA in Intercultural and International program.