Hello there! My name is Sare Yorukoglu, and I am a part of the Happy Human Project team this year as a representative. I will be completing my fourth year in BSc Psychology with a certificate program in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This past year, I got diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. As clueless as I was, COVID-19 has given me the chance to learn more about myself. Therefore, for those who might feel a little lost, I would like to share a story of how anxiety has impacted my life as an international student.
I come from a coastal city in Turkey called Antalya. It is a lovely place to go for vacation during summer as the weather is always warm here! When I was 15, my high school introduced me to Nova Scotia International Student Program. I was super invested in the idea of going abroad and learning about Canadian culture. After writing exams and taking part in interviews, I got selected for the program. In a chaotic process, I packed all my stuff (especially winter clothes) to travel to
Windsor, Nova Scotia. I was assigned to stay with a lovely host family for a year and attend grade 10 in a local high school.
During the experience I had in a year, I got the chance to meet a lot of Canadian and international students and familiarize myself with its culture. I loved it so much that I decided to complete my high school in Windsor while staying with my Canadian family. Since then, I get to visit my family back in Turkey once a year for two months. Even though I miss them
and back home, I felt like I found where I was meant to be in Canada.
After I completed high school, I got accepted into Dalhousie and moved into the Risley hall during my first year. Living in residence and meeting my friends was amazing. Although during my years of studies, I have faced some issues that were personal to me. For instance, as an international student, I was feeling lost. At some point, I felt like I didn't have a certain identity where I wasn't enough Canadian to live in Canada while not feeling enough Turkish to live in Turkey. This feeling
especially took place during the challenging times of COVID-19. Because of the pandemic, I felt like simple interactions with people were the end of the world, and I didn't know what to do. There was also this constant fear of not ever being able to go back home, or if I would, I would never be able to come back to my home in Halifax.
Of course, these thoughts were not colorful, but I'm glad that I lived through them. Even though the isolation of covid was quite scary, it also allowed me to look into my life and decide on what is the best for me. Accepting my situation was the biggest first step for me. When I decided to reach for help and diagnosis, my friend group and people in the community were all so supportive. Now that I am aware of the presence of my anxiety, I feel more comfortable talking about it to others and it has become easier to live with.
Life is not all rainbows and sunshine, and that is okay! It's okay to feel down and exhausted sometimes. What's important is to know that these feelings are normal to have, and there might be a lot of people who might feel the same way as you. We all come from unique backgrounds, and I believe that's what makes this community great. Always keep in mind that you are not in this alone, and we are here for each other! Happy Human Project :)