Ways to share your culture with new friends
By: Vivian Nguyen
Published on: April 07 2023
One of the hardest things to do when moving to a new country is making new friends. It is especially intimidating—or frightening—to build friendships with people who do not share the same culture as you.
Culture includes the shared beliefs, values, and traditions of a social group. It can be passed down from generation to generation. According to Paul Fieldhouse, culture “is what makes us similar to some other people and yet different from [others] in the world. It is a kind of social heritage.”
In Canada, because of the country’s diversity, you will meet many people from different cultural backgrounds. However, this does not mean that you need to give up your own culture to fit Canada’s multiculturalism. In fact, you are encouraged to embrace and practice your culture, as well as share it with others!
Benefits to building new relationships with people from different cultures
When put in a new environment, our instincts lead us to seek out those who are the same as us. Surrounding ourselves with such individuals provides familiarity and security. However, there are also benefits to befriending people from other cultures.
Expand your knowledge
Being friends with people of different cultures teaches you things about those cultures. You learn more about the world and the people who live in it.
Understanding why others behave or dress the way they do eliminates stereotypes that are otherwise harmful to the groups they target. A stereotype is a fixed, generalized belief about a group or class of people. Stereotypes can be both positive and negative.
Offer new experiences
Travel opportunities, new cuisines, new music, you name it! When you are friends with people from different cultures, you are exposed to new things.
Provide company and support
Being somewhere new can feel lonely. Friends with different heritages can provide different perspectives about your situation. Like any other friend, they are there to support you.
Ways to share your culture with others
As a tool for communication, we use language to entertain, teach, and encourage each other; to “build community.” Now, not everyone in the world speaks the same language as you. One way to share your culture with others is by sharing your language with them. Be it through a simple greeting, unique words, or how to say, “I love you,” sharing a language can bring people closer together.
Movies and TV shows
What is a better way to enjoy your favourite drama or film from home than with new friends? You can also share media that depict your culture in an authentic way to show your friends an indirect glimpse of your life.
Music evokes feelings found at the core of the shared human experience. Music has the power to communicate relatable emotions, feelings, and desires.
The musicality of a song reaches people in a way that lyrics may not, especially if they do not understand the language. By sharing your childhood songs or songs that are important to your family to new friends, you are sharing parts of yourself.
Food, food, food!
We cannot talk about culture without mentioning the food. Whether it is a homemade dish or bought from a local restaurant, food has the power to transport us across country borders. Food from a given culture can evoke feelings of nostalgia and happiness for members of that culture.
It can also introduce those from outside of the culture to the new tastes of a different place.
You can offer to cook for your friends or meet them at a restaurant you approve of. Dining etiquette also varies across cultures. Many families eat together and some share dishes from each other’s plates. This is why many Chinese and Thai restaurants serve large portions of their menus: for sharing.
Language, movies, music, and food all bring people together. They make up cultures that are each unique and beautiful. Take advantage of Canada’s diversity by sharing your culture with others.