One of the hardest things for immigrants to get accustomed to, apart from the language, is the differences in culture between their motherland and that of Canada. This article will seek to dissect some of the core facets of Canadian culture for any of those that are wondering how to best ‘assimilate’. This article also breaks down some of the natural havens for those from foreign countries.
One of the most important things to consider when attempting to assimilate into Canada is how the local populace feels about those from different cultures. In general, it has been reported that individuals tend to have a favorable opinion of those from various backgrounds.
This is a significant benefit for any immigrant because xenophobic cultures tend to be difficult, if not downright impossible to integrate or assimilate into. However, a recent article published online suggested that survey results from 2015 stated that, “…68 percent of Canadians surveyed wanted minorities to increase their efforts to assimilate into Canadian society.”1 While this does not necessarily imply that the reputation Canada has gained for being a friendly and inviting country for all cultures is invalid, it does yield credence to the idea that Canadians generally feel that immigrants must make strong attempts to adapt to their culture rather than vice versa.
So what are some ways that an immigrant can assimilate/integrate into Canadian culture?
#1 – Adapt to the local colloquialisms. In any culture, there are bound to be certain idioms that are commonly used among the locals there. However, in Canadian culture, this is more of a binding factor among individuals than in many other cultures. Thus, any immigrant that is looking to quickly ‘assimilate’ into the Canadian culture should take heed of the different pop phrases and colloquialisms that are used and possibly integrate some of these phrases into his or her vocabularies.
#2 – Attempt to change the inflection of one’s motherland accent. While this is something that is difficult for some and downright out of the question or impossible for others, adapting to the local dialect of the area of Canada that one’s in is a substantial step toward assimilating into this culture. In general, there is an unfortunate bias against those that speak in a dialect that is foreign to the land that they are in and thus, many unwanted problems and circumstances can be resolved if this problem is cured.
#3 – Participate in some of the more common activities. If an immigrant is from a land that does not indulge in some of the same pastimes as Canadians, they may feel as though they are on the outs. Thus, one should consider participating in some of Canada’s favorite pastimes such as watching hockey, going to movies, enjoying the outdoors, playing video games, and watching popular TV shows. This would be a good opportunity to connect with other Canadian individuals and use these forms of entertainment as a means of gathering more information about the Canadian culture as well as their likes and dislikes.
#4 – Adapt clothing. While it is never suggested that one compromise their core identity or religious affiliation for the sake of assimilation if it is tied to one’s clothing, it is not a bad idea to consider modifying or adapting one’s clothing in such a way that is more similar to how others around them dress. This will help individuals that are looking to assimilate into Canadian culture.
#5 – Sporting events. While this may seem like a category that fits under #3, it deserves to be listed as a suggestion all on its own. This is because sports is something that is universal to all cultures. However, each culture has a special affiliation to its sports and, in many cases, it’s a very big nationalist event – especially hockey. The greatest evidence of this is the fact that the national anthem is played at the beginning of most sporting events and when the Olympic games takes place, the winner is honored with their national anthem being played. As such, participating in such a largescale event as an attendee will help to get a better feel for the sense of Canadian nationalism that exists in the culture.
#6 – Working a Canadian job. This may seem like a no-brainer, but as an immigrant obtains employment in Canada, they will become more well-versed in Canadian culture, subsequently helping them to assimilate with significantly more ease than what they would have once had. Through interacting with customers, clientele or other individuals that they may have to service on the job as well as other colleagues and superiors, one would become inevitably more versed in Canadian culture and communication, subsequently making them better able to assimilate into the culture.
In conclusion, the list provided in this article is by no means an exhaustive collection of things that one could do in order to better assimilate into Canadian culture. However, it’s a great start for all those that are interested!