For many of us, cooking is one of those things primarily done out of necessity rather than desire, and when you’re an international student on your own in a new country, knowing what to eat can become a real challenge.
I’m sure other international students can relate: there are so many things that I miss about Colombia! I miss my parents, and especially my mom, who used to cook exquisite and healthy breakfasts for me every morning. She would make me a variety of meals for lunch and dinner that had that Colombian flavour that I’ll always miss. I miss my food! When we international students are far from home, we tend to look for dishes that are similar to our cultural favourites because we want to enjoy the tastes that remind us of home. Most of all, though, I miss food prices from Colombia! Vancouver is not a low-cost city. The prices at grocery stores can be shocking and sometimes that can be stressful for some of us.
But wait, not everything is bad! Being independent can be an excellent opportunity for growth, so it’s good to accept new challenges like cooking your own meals. Here are some tips from my own experience that could help you on your way to becoming your own personal chef:
1. Cook with a buddy
During my first few months in Canada, it was so different and difficult to start a new life by myself, and my cooking knowledge was really poor. I had a roommate from Peru whose cooking skills were impressive. She started to teach me and we had so much fun, even though sometimes I was a real mess in the kitchen. Nevertheless, I started improving my ability to cook. We would play music and have a great time while cooking. As I got better and better, she was so impressed that sometimes she wanted me to cook for her!
2. Look for more affordable stores but stay healthy!
I’m really good at saving money. I always manage my budget the best I can, and since we all need to eat, food makes up a huge part of my budget. At the beginning, I worked hard at comparing prices at different stores, then I picked the one that had the cheapest prices for groceries and different household items.
For me it’s really important to have a diet that keeps me healthy and gives me energy, so I aim to make food choices based on my preferences but within a healthy diet.
3. Try new things and be creative
There are many fun and quick recipes on the internet. Look for ones that include your favourite ingredients and don’t be afraid to experiment by adding other items. For me, being new to Canada is also a chance to try new foods and flavours because at Douglas and in Vancouver there are people from many different parts of the world. Now I have the chance to try a dish that might become my new favourite!
Now it’s your turn. What are your ideas for learning how to cook and enjoying cooking? I love to encourage people to do things that can be useful and improve their lives. So, don’t forget that cooking can be fun and it could even be your new passion.