CULTURE CHANGE – SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR IMMIGRANTS
Immigrants come to Canada from many countries around the world. They leave behind lives they have known and start new lives. For a majority of immigrants, coming to Canada means adapting to a new way of life.
Culture: There are cultural differences between societies and countries. It is often difficult to change anything that one has learnt and known over time. Changing culture is no different. In fact the phrase “culture shock” is often used to refer to the impact of culture change on immigrants. So how does one adapt to the new culture? Here are some suggestions:
- Observe: Pay attention to what goes on within your immediate community and across the country. Most of Canada experiences four weather seasons and there is plenty to learn by observing what activities go on in each season.
- Use a television: Almost all homes in Canada have televisions. Buy a television and a cd/video player and use them as a learning tools. You will learn a lot by watching some public broadcast television shows.
- Library: Visit a local library and become a member. Membership is free and you can learn a lot at the library. You can also borrow some material to use at home.
- Community events: Many communities have events that are open to the public and are often free. Make an effort to attend these events in order to learn what takes place in the country.
- Participate: You are now in a country that provides everyone some fundamental freedoms.
- (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
- (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
- (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
- (d) freedom of association.
Whereas moving to a new country and immediately adapting to a new culture is challenging, it is not impossible. You can get the shock out and adapt to the culture. Enjoy your new home.
Not every Canadian welcomes immigrants with open hands and cheer. There are many documented cases where some Canadians have made several statements including that:
- Immigrants are here to take their jobs
- Are here to change the Canadian culture and way of life
- Immigrants exploit the welfare system
- Government should not spend money on immigrant resettlement
To these Canadians, I suggest that they look deeper into their statements and seek facts about immigrants. Keep in mind that you are human and if this ever happened to you, it would be great that other human beings welcomed you. To the immigrants, I suggest you don’t get confrontational, steer clear of such utterances and stay focused. I suggest you work hard at whatever you are gifted at and love others like you love yourself. With time you will be rewarded and you will live a peaceful happy life.
There are many reasons why people leave their countries of birth and start life in different countries. Recently, Canada welcomed many immigrants from Syria who were forced out of their country. As I write this, as many as 10,000 immigrants have already set foot in Canada and are now settling into new homes and starting new lives. Some will call Toronto home and others will settle in other parts of the country.
Starting life in a new country is full of challenges. I have lived in three countries and here are three of the many the challenges I encountered and ones I think new immigrants will likely encounter in Canada.
- LANGUAGE: – Many immigrants who come to Canada already know English, French or both languages. Knowing either of these languages simplifies communication with more people and allows for faster adjustment. There may still be challenges communicating in either language due to differences in accents. There are also many cases where immigrants don’t know English or French and have to start out by learning the language. This is one of the biggest challenges that must be overcome by immigrants coming to Canada. Being a multi cultural country, there are some exceptions to leaning language.
- CULTURE:-Immigrants have to learn a new culture. This often requires one to be open minded, willing to learn and adapt. However many people don’t easily accept change or are unwilling to adapt. In such cases, the experience of living in Canada can be very stressful and full of regret. Culture change is another of the challenges that immigrants must face.
- WEATHER:- Canada experiences many weather conditions marked by four seasons namely winter, spring, summer and fall. Winter weather is often very cold and summer can be very hot. Depending on where immigrants come from, Canadian weather conditions can be very challenging and not easy to get used to.
Overall, Canada is a safe and good country to live in. Here are some suggestions to overcoming challenges.
- Keep an open mind, be willing to learn and love the country that has welcomed you.
- Get along with people and adapt to the new culture.
- Find an activity to keep you busy through all the weather changes for example learn how to skate or ski. Winter can be fun!