The Journey Within: Embracing Experiences and Growth in Canada

Time flies, and with a sense of gratitude, I reflect upon the fact that I have already spent six months in Canada, immersed in an enriching journey. This period has provided me a brand-new experience, both academically and personally, as I travel through this foreign land, embracing its culture, and engaging with its people.

My name is Jianing Sun. I am a PhD candidate at Chongqing University in China but I am spending one year as a visiting PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University. I consider myself exceptionally fortunate to join Dr. Hartt’s research team as a member of the Population and Place Research Lab. Over the past six months, I have actively participated in various activities, such as seminars, fostering meaningful discussions with my fellow classmates and labmates, and sharing my research. I have also noticed some differences between Eastern and Western educational paradigms, which has fostered an appreciation for the unique advantages and inherent value of both approaches. Furthermore, I am deeply honored to collaborate with Dr. Hartt on our research topic: Age-Friendly Shrinking Cities in the Global North. This collaboration has further enriched my international perspective, providing me with a comprehensive understanding of the complex demographic shifts on a global scale.

I have developed a fondness for the city of Kingston, where life moves at a more relaxed pace. I take pleasure in leisurely moments spent by the sunlit shores of Lake Ontario. Exploring the delicacy of this city, I have found new gastronomic delights in various restaurants. Weekends are an opportunity to immerse myself in the world of cinema, although it presents a slight challenge as Chinese subtitles are not available. The people in Kingston are friendly and enthusiastic. I am constantly moved by the genuine gestures of kindness, such as bus drivers warmly greeting to me, others proactively offering assistance, and individuals attentively listening to my imperfectly spoken English. Additionally, my travels to Toronto and Ottawa have allowed me to visit numerous renowned landmarks. One of the most memorable experiences was being participating in the celebrations for the coronation of His Majesty King Charles III at Queen’s park. Through my travels, I have had the privilege to intimately explore Canadian culture, deepening my respect for its diversity. Furthermore, I’ve started experimenting with making desserts and Chinese cuisine, which is a novel and delightful experience. Making delicious food has proven to be a remarkably enjoyable activity, allowing me to engage in the pleasures of culinary creativity and the gratification of savoring the results of my labor.

As life continues its course, and I remain committed to embracing new experiences and fostering personal growth in Canada with hope and curiosity.