Every year, thousands of Indian students come to Canada to study at post-secondary institutions. Carleton University, the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College are now home to more Indian students than ever before. By some estimates, there are now more than 2,000 Indian students studying in Ottawa.

While Canada’s diversity is well recognized around the world, the newly arrived international students still face an initial culture shock. During their first few months in Canada, they must develop new social circles, acclimatize to new weather, learn to understand different accents and face many other personal challenges.

About 100 Indian students who are studying Carleton, the uOttawa and Algonquin this year attended an orientation session at Carleton on Sept. 18 that provided exposure to the support system available.

Organized by Carleton’s Canada-India Centre for Excellence, the orientation was also attended by the Indian High Commissioner to Canada, His Excellency Vikas Swarup, MP Chandra Arya, President of the India-Canada Association (ICA), Umesh Kumar, and Jagdeep Perhar, chairman of the Indo-Canada Ottawa Business Chamber (ICOBC).

Carleton’s Associate Vice-President (Research and International), Pauline Rankin, welcomed the students to Ottawa and provided recommendations on their transition to Canadian academic life.

The president of ICA said that his organization can help students establish connections to the local Indo-Canadian community, while the chairman of ICOBC mentioned his organization is ready to help students with job-related connections and networking opportunities. The Indian High Commissioner informed the students of various services available through the Indian High Commission.

Arya recounted his own journey as an immigrant to Canada and urged the students to “dream big” and firmly believe that “anything is possible” in Canada.

The Canada-India Centre may make the session an annual event for new students as the number of Indian students is expected to rise significantly in the coming years.