My full name is Diego David Antunez Escalon. I am sure many people can guess this, but I am an international student from La Ceiba, a city in Honduras. This is my first time in Canada and I love the snow and the winter! I have been used to living in “summer” my entire life, so, unlike many Canadians, I am not missing the sun!
So far, my time at Redeemer has been amazing, and I am so happy that I decided to study here. I heard about Redeemer through my high school advisor. He had given me a book containing 250+ universities that I could consider applying to, and Redeemer was one of them. When I mentioned Redeemer to my advisor, he told me that he had attended a conference at Redeemer a few years ago, had met a couple of the staff, and felt that it was a great place to study. I decided to apply to Redeemer, Trinity Western, and a few American universities which all offered degrees in digital media and production, a program that I was very interested in.
Once I was accepted to Redeemer, I began the tedious process of working to obtain my student visa. My high school has relationships with many schools in the US and had much experience with sending students to these schools. It still surprises me that I stuck to my plan of coming to Canada, as no one from my school had studied here before. It was a process that no one really knew about or how to navigate, so the application process was not a simple one.
Originally, I had planned to attend Redeemer in the Fall of 2020. By taking on more classes, I was able to complete eleventh and twelfth grade in the same year, which is not the standard in Honduras. My idea was to “save a year,” but it didn’t really make a difference that I finished high school a year early, as I was unable to enter Canada due to the pandemic.
At times, I was so frustrated with my situation. During the height of COVID-19, my friends were still able to go to school as the US had different policies on allowing international students into the country. While my friends were living their dreams, I was back at home wondering if I would ever be able to come to Canada. Since I had already graduated from my high school it meant that if I wanted to apply to other universities, I would have to do it by myself, whereas when I was in high school, my advisor sent all my transcripts and figured out the logistics for me.
Luckily, Jake Klassen, my admissions counselor from Redeemer, was a huge help to me. The number of times I emailed him asking questions… I wouldn’t be at Redeemer without him. I was in a very tight spot with no plan B; it just had to work out, and thankfully, with God’s help, it did.
To this day, I still ask myself what was it about Canada that made me desire to come here instead of the US, which would have been a much easier route. I have always believed that Canada is an amazing country with great opportunities. While I have visited many parts of the US, I think that Canada has much more to offer to international students.
Recently, I have noticed that some Candians have been disagreeing on politics. When you come from a third-world country like mine, the things that people are unhappy about in first-world countries like Canada are very different than the issues happening at home. When you have lived in such different places, like myself, you see things differently. Since the moment I arrived in Canada at the airport, I was treated so well. The amount of cultural diversity is insane.
No place is perfect but I am so grateful to be here—the people, the level of education, and the quality of life are so different from where I am from. In my personal opinion I believe Canada offers so many opportunities to people like me, and by that I mean a Hispanic, Latino, international guy, who just wants to study here and get a proper education here. I am grateful to be here now. As for the future, I am leaving that in God’s hands!