Tips to embracing different cultures in Canada
By Maria Montemayor
Posted on August 3, 2021
Canada is a country that values multiculturalism: the view that different cultures, ethnicities, and races can coexist and mingle with equal rights and opportunities.
When you come to Canada, your first instinct might be to find people who share your cultural background. You might seek individuals who speak your language and know your customs. It is easier to communicate with people who understand your culture and beliefs. People from different cultures may dress a certain way, speak with a different accent, or enjoy customs and activities that you don’t understand. This can make it difficult to connect and relate to one another.
It is good to interact with people who share your values. However, you might find yourself in a cultural bubble missing out on new opportunities.
Whether you go to work, attend school, or shop at a grocery store, you will encounter people from a different culture than you, especially if you live in a large city. If you’re looking to branch out from your cultural bubble, here are three tips to getting started.
1. Be curious
When you interact with people from different cultural backgrounds, you should treat them with kindness and dignity. Make the effort to speak to them, even if you don’t speak the language fluently. Try to get to know the people you interact with and ask them basic questions, like their name and their background.
Maybe you’ve seen videos or television that feature people of a certain race or ethnicity. Maybe you have a few friends from different cultural backgrounds, but not every person from a specific culture or race is the same. If you have any questions about other people’s languages or traditions, ask! Being curious and asking questions can be the first step in broadening your social circle.
2. Try to learn from them
Since the people you meet may speak another language, you can ask them if they could teach you how to say different sentences in their language. If they know how to weave or play a traditional instrument, see if they can teach you those skills when they have the time.
It’s fun to learn new skills from other people! Whether you pick up the skill quickly or it takes some time for you to learn, you will be able to develop confidence in learning something new. Someone from a different culture might be able to teach you something that can become your new hobby.
3. Be open to new cuisine
Many people take pride in their cooking or the dishes that represent their heritage. If you have never tried another culture’s cooking, give it a try! If someone from another ethnic background offers to cook you something or wants to share a snack, say yes. You never know if you are going to like it if you don’t taste it. Just be sure to let the person know if you have any allergies. As well, share your cultural food with the people you meet and offer to cook for them.
Food brings family members and friends together, but we all have food preferences and aversions. If you really don’t want to try the food, you can say that you’re full or at least try a bite and say thank you.
We hope these tips will help you get to know other people and their cultures better!