Gursahib Singh would do some things differently if he could start all over again.
Singh, 30, moved to Canada from New Delhi in 2018 to study at Confederation College in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
He was already working as an engineer at home, but wanted to start his life in Canada. However, for a few years he got caught up in what he thought his new Canadian life should be like.
Now, through his popular social networks – some of his Hindi YouTube videos have been viewed almost 400,000 times – he offers advice to prospective students in India to help them avoid the same mistakes.
“Everyone is flaunting on social media like they have a big car or a really expensive gadget,” said Singh, who became a permanent resident of Canada earlier this year. “So when other international students come to Canada, they think, ‘Oh, it’s very easy to afford all these things in Canada.
“Students who think this way end up in debt within months of arriving,” he said.
“I fell into this trap when I finished my studies, but now I’ve come out of it. I’m really happy about it.”
They see other international students already in Canada and they see their photos. Everyone is showing off on social media. So they think it’s very easy to afford all these things in Canada.– Gursahib Singh, YouTuber, former international student
Singh worked for an engineering firm in London, Ontario, before recently taking a job with a Waterloo company called Molex. Singh and his partner, who joined him in Canada in 2019, plan to move to Waterloo in the near future.
The couple are now saving for a down payment on a house.
“My goal is to have a good career, buy a good house and make my parents proud,” he said.
Advice on employment, shopping, housing
Based on the number of enrollments in Canadian post-secondary schools, Singh’s videos have a huge potential market.
According to Statistics Canada, from 2018/2019 to 2019/2020, just before the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a 13.7% increase in international student enrollment, while Canadian student enrollment declined by 0.9%.
During his downtime from work, Singh produces two to three YouTube and Instagram videos a week, offering advice to prospective students on everything from grocery shopping to finding a part-time job and how much to pay. for the clothes.
“There are so many music videos in my home country,” he said. “In these music videos, the lead would wear expensive brands, brands like Armani or Gucci. And students who are thinking of studying in Canada, they think, ‘Oh, it’s very easy to afford those brands too. ‘”
In a recent video, Singh visits a mall in London and demonstrates how much you can actually buy with $100.
While being roommates with other international students has benefits, he cautions that it comes with challenges.
“Everyone is busy and all housework stops. Nobody does the dishes because they have exams. Nobody cleans the house. Nobody does anything.”
And that can lead to conflict, he said.
Singh’s social media offerings have had a huge impact, including on his followers.
“I used to watch videos on Gursahib’s YouTube channel,” said Prince Sain, 32, who moved to Brampton, Ont., in April to study at Algoma University. “I’ve been watching since I’ve been in India.”
Sain admitted it was difficult to find housing when he first moved to Brampton. It also took him time to adjust to public transit in Canada.
But he said that through Singh’s videos he learned how to overcome challenges and gained practical information on what to expect once he arrives.