Finding myself in Vancouver

Studying biology in Vancouver’s beautiful natural setting. | Photo by Ingrid Taylar

Studying biology in Vancouver’s beautiful natural setting. | Photo by Ingrid Taylar

The journey was a promising one. It looked like the ideal way to go for a recent graduate from a South American university: moving to Canada to continue my studies. This is what I had ahead of me four years ago when I was officially accepted into a Master’s program in Ontario. It was certainly very exciting, although it carried a lot of personal responsibility since it meant having to deal with situations and circumstances I had never faced before. However, for an adventurous 24-year-old guy, it posed no major challenge, or so I thought.

Moving to a different country implies submerging oneself into a completely new environment, which in turn means adaptation for “survival” and adaptation equals change. Needless to say, change requires us to take control of our fears, which is a tough task, as we have all, at some point, experienced.

During the frantic times of coping with research, deadlines, teaching and course assignments, it is easy to ignore how fast time goes by. However, it is also evident that being busy with many activities is the best state of life. This sounds rather philosophical; however, I came to a hard realization some months after I graduated with my Master’s degree that having all the free time one could ever ask for is not as good as I had once imagined.

Here’s where Vancouver comes into my life. After living in Ontario for almost three years, I knew I was in need of another change, from a professional as well as a personal perspective. I was on a quest to discover the place where I would settle and where my future would take me.

Vancouver is undoubtedly a fascinating city for different reasons. Being a biologist, my number one priority was living in a city with breathtaking natural surroundings. Vancouver has the magical combination of snow-capped mountains, ocean, rainforests and the marvel of the parks uniquely fused with the urban layout. Although this was an important reason, my main goal when moving here was to find a job in my field, so the existence of such opportunities was also crucial when choosing Vancouver.

Landing a job in science turned out to be far more challenging than I had originally expected. That has brought about a whole lot of other opportunities and ideas that I had never even imagined. This city helped me expand my horizons and broaden my scope of interests and abilities as to what I am actually able to perform and be useful for.

I am thankful for having met outstanding people with different backgrounds who have shown me how many other opportunities are available in a place that bursts with activities of various kinds and where the possibilities of contributing are endless as far as one is willing to do something. A direct result is the article I am writing today. I had forgotten my passion for writing only because biology had taken most of my time, and biology also changed my conception of what I felt I was able to do. Vancouver has ignited that spark in me again, showing me that life is not limited to one degree or to a predetermined path derived from it.

Vancouver is certainly an extraordinary merger of cultures, flourishing with a mixture of languages, customs and opportunities. Although the path to my “career” may not be clear yet, I am grateful to this place for all the people I have met who have opened up unexpected chances to explore what my future may actually be.