Posted by : VANITY Blog Friday, 17 October 2014

"Once again, school begins."

From the news to shoe sales to blog magazine themes, this message is plastered in nearly every corner of the city like a slap to my face whenever a new school year is just about to start. Surely, everybody's Facebook News Feeds and Twitter is flooded with reactions towards the annual phenomena.
Every year, there are always students who can't wait to back to school. On the other hand, there are also those who are groaning at prospect of homework and classes. If only they knew how much I envy them all... 

I, like many other immigrants in their late teens, will not be part of the student population this term. We all have different reasons, of course, and it ranges from personal choice to no choice at all. Wherever we are on the spectrum, we all face the same problem: what are we supposed to do with all that free time?

Fortunately, Vancouver has countless to offer to those of us who are looking for something to do and they fall under two categories:

If you can't go to school, go to work.

Getting a job is easier than you might think. I should know because for someone with unimpressive credentials, I managed to scrounge an honest work in an office. The trick is to ask for some guidance.

Besides your parents and friends, you can reach out to immigration centres such as the ISS of BC and SUCCESS which offer aid for any immigrant-- even us youth!-- who are looking for employment. Some of the help they provide us include narrowing our job search, teaching us how to write awesome resumes, and giving us tips on how not to suck at interviews.

Although getting work will take a lot of hard work and patience, it is completely worth it. Not only would we get cash, we would also up our work credentials this early in the game of employment. We may not get our ideal jobs at first try but we can expect to have a better one in the future with our gained Canadian experience to work in our favour. And have I already mentioned cash?

If you don't have homework, have a hobby.

What hobby? Any hobby. Absolutely anything that interests you. If you can think it, count that Vancouver has a group or club for it.

A budding artist? Join the Vancouver Urban Sketchers! They pick a place in the city and sketch whatever they see. Amateurs are welcome.

If writing is more your thing, I heard some good stuff about Pandora's Collective. Fancy name, I know. They host at least three monthly events in  Vancouver like the Twisted Poets Literary Salon and Word Whips.

If you're the type who wants to better the world one small step at a time, have a shot at volunteering. Now that school has dragged students back to their classrooms, organizations will be looking for volunteers to fill the spots many students have left. I found my volunteering opportunity at The website is not only filled with volunteer postings but event announcements as well. Speaking of, VANITY also has monthly posts about upcoming events that you might want to check out.
Being a scrawny kid, I myself am looking to add some meat in my bones what with winter fast approaching. I decided to enrol in Tai Chi classes and take a fitness membership offered in one of the many community centres in the city. Each local community centre provides workshops and classes ranging from martial arts to gardening. You check out the programs available to you at


Getting a job or a hobby, whichever you choose (or if you plan to do both), it is important to understand what they have in common: both require you to step out of the comfort of your homes and reach out to what you want. This new world may seem scary but we cannot let it freeze us from living our lives. Let us get out there and show the world that we may not be in school yet, but that doesn't mean we can't.

- M.R.

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Vancouver Immigrant Youth (VANITY) Blog is an online space made for youth, by youth. Here, you will find stories and experiences written by youth immigrants who once felt how challenging it was to be a newcomer in Vancouver. If you are a newcomer in Vancouver (or anywhere in Canada), we hope to give you all the resources you need to feel comfortable in this country. We hope to give you tips and advices on how we adjusted to our lives here as youth immigrants. Through this site, we want to empower you to bring out your full potential.





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