I arrived in Vancouver at the end of September of 2019, so I was fortunate enough to know a bit of the city for 6 months pre-covid. I was excited to move in and start a new adventure, I had a job that I loved back in Mexico City where I was a Buyer for one of the biggest retail stores in Mexico, but I knew something was missing, that even though I loved my family, friends and job, Mexico City was not where I wanted to be, that is when I decided to move to Canada.
I ended up in Vancouver by serendipity, I was looking for a business program while sticking to a budget, I looked to different colleges and universities and ended up applying for a co-op. Even though one of my dreams since 2015, was to pursue an MBA after graduating with an International Business Bachelor’s; I wanted to try living abroad for a year to challenge myself and live outside of my comfort zone.
It was not my first experience living abroad, I was really lucky to live in Germany for a year when I was 17, (maybe I will tell that story in another blog) but this time was different I was also searching for a place that I could make a career and possibly reside in the future. Five years later, my dream came true, and I was accepted into SFU Beedie’s Full-time MBA program, but let us first look at when I just moved in.
I remember that one of the things that first shocked me was how early the stores and coffee shops closed in Vancouver. I was not used to that because in Mexico City some cafes, malls and other places close on weekdays at 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM, and many places here are closed at 9:00 PM, but I guess it also comes with a better-quality life, which I was also looking for. The parties and gatherings were also different from my experience back home where everybody contributes food, we all share and party until early morning. Although, I later discovered that they have potlucks here which reminds me of the parties in Mexico!
In Vancouver, I can take the SkyTrain, buses or even walk almost everywhere while admiring the beautiful landscapes and just nature itself. I started to fall in love with the city easily, I could walk and meet new people every day because it is a multicultural city. But when covid hit, everything started to change, I know it was hard for everyone, but for someone like me that came from another country by myself, it was quite challenging, I started to miss my family and friends more than ever, and now even human interactions, something as simple as a hug.
Mexicans are usually friendly and family-oriented people, we also love our food and sharing it with others, I found that there was a big community of Mexicans living in Vancouver and its surroundings. I found that I could find at least something that I did not know I could not live without, like salsa, tortillas and Tajin (Mexican powder chilli for fruits and salads). But I do have to admit I still sometimes miss my favourite tacos which is Al Pastor. I also miss the cosmetic products I used in Mexico as well.
I am so excited that I have the opportunity to pursue an MBA in Canada which is a dream come true. I have been studying online and it definitely is not what I had imagined for my MBA experience. However, I have tried to stay focus and keep sane while I adjusted to another way of studying and learning. I have learnt a lot of new things that will help me personally and professionally, while still having a chance to enjoy most of the city and visit new places.
One of the things that I enjoy the most about Vancouver is that you have a bit of everything, yes, it is still busy as it is a city and I am located downtown, Vancouver but also you have the beach, mountains, and forest close by. I am still surprised by what people refer to as “far away” here because when I was in Mexico, I used to drive for an hour and a half every day just to get to my job. I love the seasons, wilderness, and all it has to offer here. I still do not know if Vancouver is the place I belong to, but I have decided to call it home for now, and I am trying to make the best of it every day.
About the Author
Giovanna L. Vázquez Riojas is a full-time SFU Beedie School of Business MBA candidate.