As an immigrant to Canada, you may notice some big cultural differences between your home country and the country where you’re building a new life. Learning about Canadian culture and adapting can help you avoid awkward situations and can help you feel more content with your decision to move. Here’s how you can get used to Canadian culture, even if there are differences between your home country and Canada:
- Read up about Canada before and after you move. Before you move, read about Canadian culture. Get to know slang and popular terms by listening to podcasts and by watching TV shows and movies from Canada. After you move, subscribe to come Canadian magazines and newspapers and continue to learn so your new environment will seem more familiar.
- Join groups of newcomers and Canadians. Get to know others who have moved from their home countries. Even if they come from countries different than yours, they may be going through some of the same experiences as you, and you can learn from each other. It’s also useful to join groups where you can meet other Canadians. Take part in community organizations, join classes, or take part in events in your community so you can meet Canadians. If you go to school, join organizations and groups around campus to meet others.
- Get to know the holidays. Celebrating Canadian holidays will make you feel like you fit right in and will help you adapt to your new home.
- Volunteer. Volunteering means taking part in projects and helping others without pay. Volunteering lets you meet others and it is a part of Canadian life. About 47% of Canadians volunteer in some capacity, and volunteering also helps you get Canadian job experience, so you can get work.
- Understand that fitting in is a process. At first, you may love the idea of immigrating to Canada. If you encounter challenges or find you feel out of place, you may start to feel frustrated or even angry. Understand the process of adapting to life in a new country is difficult and be prepared for some challenges. Rather than complaining, try to find ways to adjust. Seek help from a counselor or others who are newcomers if you are struggling.
- Set fitting-in goals. Make a list of ways you can adapt to the culture in Canada as an immigrant. You may plan to make three Canadian friends, celebrate a holiday as a Canadian, or learn a specific skill.
- Take French or English classes. You will have an easier time making a home in your new country if you can communicate easily. Take classes to master the language, if you are not a fluent speaker. As an added benefit, you will also meet new people you can add to your social network, which can help you build your new life in Canada.
- Take things slow. Be kind to yourself and realize it may take some time. Maintain contact with friends and family back home and treat yourself well during this adjustment phase. Get enough sleep and eat well. Exercise so you can stay in shape and feel good. Before you know it, you will have adapted. You may even be able to help others who are newcomers!
Ready to come to Canada?
One of the great things about Canada is that it is a cultural mosaic, celebrating diversity. No one expects you to give up your customs or culture when you immigrate and you will find different cultures celebrated. In fact, you can continue to celebrate your own culture even as you learn about Canada and learn to become a Canadian.
If you would like to immigrate to Canada, Immigration Direct has resources to help you apply for the Federal Skilled Workers Program or to seek other ways to enter Canada. We even have a free blog with news and useful advice for coming to Canada and living here.