Carpe Diem: How to Survive Life in Canada
Immigrants never have it easy when it comes to adjusting to a new environment with a different culture, climate and/or way of living. This holds true also if you are thinking of having a new life in Canada. It will be a challenge, as is any other first endeavors.
With some research and planning, you will be able to turn a seemingly patience-sucking move into a more interesting one. Just take some time to breathe and follow some of the survival tips, which are of great help especially during your first year in the North American country.
DEALING WITH THE CLIMATE
- Life in Canada has become synonymous with cold to freezing winters. If you have lived in the cold regions in Europe before the big move, you will never have a problem adjusting the Canadian climate. However, if you are from a country that experiences sunlight almost all throughout the year, snow may become quite overwhelming. That is if you are not prepared. It is a must to invest on warm clothes, including a Canadian winter jacket, sweaters, socks, muffs, gloves, and scarves. Save some money for these types of clothing and buy them once you step in Canada. It isn’t advisable to buy in the country where you’re coming from as winter clothes can take too much of the space in your luggage.
- Always dress in layers during winter. Many immigrants have 10 layers of clothing when going to work or doing errands during the winter. Some, who easily get cold, use more than 10.
- Do check the weather forecast. Canadian winter can be very fickle. You don’t want to be going out not knowing what will welcome you. Sunny winters in the country could still mean a below 0°C temperature. Also, weather forecasts could inform you if snow would fall sometime during the day.
DEALING WITH BEING UNSETTLED
- Almost all immigrants feel homesick the first few months of their stay in a foreign country. This is to be expected especially if you barely know anyone in your community. A great way to battle such nostalgia is to get to know other immigrants in your area. Canada has become a melting pot of people from different countries so there are a lot of immigrants like you who you could bond with.
- Check out a community center. This is your chance to get to know not only the immigrants in your neighborhood but the citizens as well. Remember, you also need to have good relations with everyone.
- Make a blog about your life in Canada. It would help if you write about your good experiences. This way, the positive is highlighted and the happy feelings could help you think less of the country, family and friends you left behind.
- Watch TV, read magazines and newspapers, and watch TV in your native language. This fourth tip might be a little tricky. For some, anything that could remind them of home might make them feel more homesick. For others, it could help them ease the loneliness. Gauge your feelings first before doing this especially if you are home alone and watching a local television show. You might end up balling your eyes out.
DEALING WITH CULTURE SHOCK
- Culture shock is most common particularly if your home country has a very different way of life. Thankfully, with Canada, it won’t be a shock but more of little adjustments to their culture. The social setting may leave you a little oblivious but this does not mean that you can cope with Canada’s way of living.
- All you need to do is learn how to speak Canadian. Remember, although one of the country’s official language is English, the vocabulary and slang may be a bit different from other English-speaking countries. It will also help to learn the other official language, French.
A new life in Canada is not all bed of roses especially for first time immigrants. However, if you would prepare yourself with this three main concerns of first-time country movers, you will be able to adjust easier.