I am a French international student, and yet I deeply feel Canadian.

The truth is, I feel more Canadian than I feel French.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love France and think it is the most beautiful country in the world. But I love Canada a little more for the beauty of its people and the values that they carry.

As an immigrant, the one that impressed me at first, and continues to impress me the most, is the inclusion.

On my very first day in Ottawa, as I casually walked down Rideau Street looking for a place to have breakfast in, a lady randomly started a conversation with me about the weather. My first reflex was to step back and think, “Is she mentally ill?” Truth is she wasn’t, and when she noticed my French accent she instantly switched to French.

At this precise moment, I felt like I was right where I was supposed to be. I felt like no matter which puzzle pieces I was made of, I was now part of a bigger puzzle.

My legal status in Canada is only one piece of paper that allows me to study in the country for a limited time. If I wish, I could simply return to my home country once my studies are completed, as many others have done before me. However, it is unlikely that I will do so. The reason is that I want to give back to Canada.

Some people say that home is where your family is. I believe home is where your heart is, and my heart is Canadian.