Would you like to know the habits you must adopt in order to become successful as a foreigner in Canada?
Culture, they say, is “people’s way of life.” Another popular saying holds that “when in Israel, behave like the Israelites do.” Likewise, when in Canada, behave like the average Canadian would do.
Certain habits, when cultivated and exhibited, can guarantee you a faster chance at networking and becoming more successful in the country.
Quick Facts About Canada’s Culture
Table of Contents
Wikipedia highlights some of the country’s cultural characteristics ranging from multiculturalism, and the following elements: humour, politics, art and cuisine.
Immigrants Adapting to Canadian Culture Exhibit these Habits
As a foreigner/immigrant, here are some of the habits you can master and exhibit for an increased chance of success in Canada.
1. “Shoes Off” before Stepping Inside a House
If you are from a place where wearing shoes is common, you already know that it is something that comes with a lot of value. So, what happens when someone literally “commands” you to take off your shoes?
In Canada, precaution is taken as to where and when to put on a shoe. If a friend invited you over or you go visiting someone, courtesy demands that you go in without your shoes. It is not enough to shake off your dust or dirt on the doormat – you have to remove the shoes.
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2. Respect is Taken Seriously
This should be a no-brainer. Respecting people should be something that comes naturally, but in Canada, it is a priority. Here are a few instances:
- Respect the Country’s History: Canada continues to “heal” from some of the troubles that befell the country in the past. This is why teaching the country’s history and learning the same is important.
- Respect the Indigenous’ Privacies: except you are told without asking, you have no business making enquiries into your Canadian friends’ and acquaintances’ private lives. Questions bordering on political perspectives, income levels, religious views and family life should be avoided.
3. Improve on the Indigenous Languages
Canada is multilingual and learning some of the basic languages is one habit you must cultivate. Asides from the Canadian English, you also have to learn and improve on your ability to speak Mandarin, French, Cantonese and Punjabi.
4. Being Polite Works “Wonders”
If you grew up learning to say “sorry” only when you hurt someone, you may have to have a rethink when in Canada. In this country, the word “sorry” is not exclusive to apologies – it is also used to make a request.
It is borne out of the need to be polite or appear to be so at any time. From saying “please” when asking a question to saying “thank you” after a favour is done; it is important to be a polite foreigner.
5. Learn to Adapt to the Meals & Meal Times
Depending on how your feeding timetable is structured back home. There may be a need to make some slight changes when in Canada.
For example, if you are used to taking dinner anywhere from 8 pm and 9 pm, be in for a “shocker.” Canadians typically take supper at 5 pm.
The time difference can also be noticed for lunch, as Canadians take lunch at noon.
The meals are also a bit different from what you eat at home. In Canada, you will be introduced to some of the country’s specials, such as butter tarts, poutine and Canadian pizza.
6. Don’t Ignore the Weather Forecast
The weather could make or mar your day. If you are not used to checking the weather forecast either online or via the TV channels; you are missing out. In Canada, knowing how the weather is positioned for the day can help you make informed decisions.
Why is this important? The country’s weather seems to be both unpredictable and unstable. It could snow and rain on the same day.
Keynote: Always check the weather forecast and prepare your day around it!
7. Be Careful not to Trigger Someone’s Allergy
Allergy refers to the body’s resistance to certain things, including food. If you don’t understand this, it could get you into a lot of trouble in Canada.
Here’s the point: at least, one in 13 Canadians has one allergy or things they are allergic to. Food allergy is the most common and foods like soy, meat, shellfish, sesame, peanuts, wheat, and egg are some of the most popular.
Beyond food, you could also trigger someone’s allergy by the type of perfume you applied.
Here are some good rules of thumb to prevent triggering a Canadian or even another foreigner’s allergy:
- Ask the person if he or she has an allergy and what type of foods or perfumes the person is allergic to.
- Try not to cook or eat certain foods around people who are allergic to the same.
- Try not to apply strong perfumes or colognes. Even if you would, let it be a mild/minimal application.
Other Ways to Adapt to Life in Canada for Immigrants
Foreigners in the country can also build better connections if they followed these additional tips:
a. Seek Permission Always
Trying to use something that doesn’t belong to you? Ask for the owner’s permission or consent before using it.
b. Do not Interfere in People’s Lives
Canada is what you would describe as a “liberal country.” The general belief is that personal beliefs, behaviour and gender doesn’t always mean incapability. Therefore, as a foreigner, it is imperative that you don’t interfere with “what people do with their lives” in the country.
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c. Take Calculated Risks
Living in a new country comes with a lot of risks and cultural shocks too. Haven taken the risk to relocate to Canada, take further (calculated risks) to establish yourself in the country.
Here are some ideas:
- Try not to live in the places that make you too comfortable.
- Strive to tackle new challenges as they come.
- You are now in a new “home.” So, shove off some of your “old beliefs” and embrace all that Canada has to offer with an “open mind.”
Concluding Thoughts on the Habits Required to Succeed in Canada as a Foreigner
Immigrants to Canada experience several cultural shocks, ranging from how being polite is important, the need to be a “nationalist,” respecting people’s personal space and the average Canadian’s lack of interest in socializing.
By imbibing the habits discussed in this post as a foreigner, volunteering and networking; you will soon break out of your shell and become a Canadian, not only at heart – but by practice in Canada.