Regardless of where the Canadian immigrants came from, there are always new things they discover in Canada that are different from what they have back home. Perhaps it’s the weather, the culture, the price difference of goods and services, and many others. Knowing them in advance helps set expectations better and reduces the level of culture shock they might expect to experience.
Here are some of what new immigrants experience once they settle in Canada.
People and Culture
- Local people are patient and considerate people. If they happen to enter a building and you’re right behind them, they’ll often hold the door for you. In some countries, this is not practiced.
- It’s not unusual to find people from various ethnic backgrounds in Canada living within the same neighborhoods and practicing their culture — they have nearby temples or churches, shops that sell goods from their countries, and restaurants that serve specialty dishes.
- Motorists are likewise patient to wait for pedestrians to cross on crosswalks without traffic signals.
- Passengers show appreciation and gratitude towards bus drivers by greeting them upon boarding and thanking them on their way out.
- Customers also show courtesy towards shopkeepers on how they communicate. Instead of “I want this” as you point on your order, they say “can I get one of your special pancakes and maple syrup on the side please”.
- Sadly, not everyone is kind and polite. There are also people who mistreat others in a racist and condescending manner towards newcomers. So don’t assume that everyone acts in kindness.
- In most cases, you need a car to get through the grind of daily life. That includes sending a child to school, buying groceries, or going to work. That’s because of the long distance between homes and schools, supermarkets and workplaces, especially in smaller towns and suburbs.
- Neighborhoods have large supermarkets where groceries and provisions can be purchased. If you live further away, say at least a 15-minute drive, a weekly trip is more practical and worthwhile.
- Be prepared for the worst winter of your life or the first of many brutally cold ones. There are areas where the temperature dips to -20 C or lower, not to mention the wind chill factor.
- Canada has just so much space to explore. It’s not the world’s second-largest country for nothing. Natural parks, snow-capped mountains, forests, plains, and just the vastness of nature everywhere you might find so few people around.
- Changes in the season show changes in foliage. Depending on what time of year you arrive, you’ll notice a transformation of colors around you in a few months. From lush bright green during summer to a yellow-orange palette once autumn kicks in.
- Due to safety reasons, you have to change your car tires for the winter season to ensure it has the proper road grip, especially in icy or snowy conditions.
Jobs and employment opportunities
- Skilled tradesmen are a valuable profession that is paid handsomely. An electrician, for example, can earn at least $30 for simply fitting one tiny switch. Drivers may be paid lowly back in your country but makes about $30 an hour in Alberta for doing everything (driving, collecting fares, etc).
- It may not be easy to find a job in certain sectors as prior Canadian experience is often preferred. A polished resume/CV with specific skills highlighted towards each target employer helps attract attention and generate interest from the HR team. Knowing people around you helps expand opportunities as endorsements and recommendations are widely encouraged.
- If the ideal job is not yet available, there are jobs that are entry-level and lower-skilled requirements that are there in the meantime. It can be degrading to move to an unfamiliar blue-collar work, but it also teaches a lot of lessons. Many successful immigrants started their way from the bottom of the employment ladder and thanked their earlier jobs such as convenience store attendants or taxi drivers.
- Not everyone will have a pleasant experience looking for jobs and opportunities, but you have to make the most of it. After all, you are already Canadian immigrants and you have to make the most out of the situation.