Studying abroad requires a lot of adjustment. Sometimes we have to learn things and relearn things in order to make it!
Things can get really tough for us as international students during the first 6 months in a new country. Knowing what common cultural shocks are will really help you prevent it from happening – at least we hope so.
Common culture shock international students face…
- Canadians are friendly and polite
It’s very common that you end up having a conversation with someone in the elevator or cashier at grocery stores or saying thank you every time you get off the bus. In the beginning, you might think they are being “too friendly”. When someone you don’t know asks how your day is going, you can respond but don’t sweat it, you don’t have to tell them everything!
- Be prepared for a new lifestyle
Many of us, international students, lived at home in our home country where you might have your parents or helpers to take care of housekeeping. Be prepared to do things all by yourself like cooking, doing dishes, laundry, mopping the floor and the list goes on. When it comes to living by yourself, time management is key. Set aside a day every week to do your errands and housekeeping.
- You will be homesick
Find yourself scrolling through Instagram and seeing all your friends back home hang out without you? The feeling of FOMO will get more real. When your entire world changes, it is totally normal to feel homesick. You might spend more hours facetiming with your family and friends back home than usual. Try to bring something from your room/ home that is special to you. Your room will be your sanctuary in this new country so set it up in a way that it feels like home to you.
- Age doesn’t really matter
In many countries, we pay so much respect to someone who is older, whether they are a year older or many years older. In Canada, everybody is equal and people are open to hearing you out. You might be friends with someone who is a few years younger or older than you and that’s very common. You can ask your professors & lecturers for coffee chat and be personal with them, that’s ok!
- Personal space matters
In other cultures, hugging or kissing someone for a greeting might be acceptable but in Canada, being too intimate right away is not recommended. People mind their own business here and respect others’ personal space and boundaries. Asking direct questions like salary, relationship, or money to someone you don’t know very well can be perceived as offensive.
- Everyone likes to be called by their name
In many cultures it is disrespectful to call someone older than yourself by their name. In many countries even professors and superiors at work are not addressed by their name. Using salutations like Sir, Madam, Uncle and Aunty are widely accepted/ the norm. However in Canada, people address each other by their first name even in a formal setting.
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