INTERNeX Canada: Culture Shock

Having lived in Vancouver, Canada since I was 7 (now 23), I asked myself: what am I still culture shocked with? I can only recall my experience from the move to Canada. The lifestyle was the biggest shock to me.

In Hong Kong, everyone’s lives moves at 150 km per hour because they seem to be busy all the time. Working 12 to 13 hours, excluding overtime, is the norm, and yet the locals go out to eat or drink afterwards like sleep doesn’t matter.

Moving to Vancouver, the pace of the Canadian lifestyle was definitely a shock.People are much less self-absorbed in that they would say ‘hi’ to you on the street if you pass by them. On the other hand, I had a conversation with someone the other day about how there is nothing to do because stores or restaurants close fairly early. Even the bars generally close at 2am. As Vancouver becomes more metropolitan, these restrictions are definitely changing.

Yet contrary to those thoughts above, I was having a chat on Facebook with a fellow Canadian friend, Joe, who is currently studying hospitality management in Switzerland. I asked him what are the cultural differences in Switzerland or Europe compared to back home in Vancouver.

His thoughts are what inspired this post.

Joe said that people in Europe hold a higher sense of traditional values and persuasions. This is obvious in that Canada is a very young country, having only been constituted in 1867. Our upcoming holiday, Thanksgiving, is one that we celebrate religiously every year, on the second Monday of October. I was surprised to learn that it has only been around since 1957.

Joe also told me that in Europe, people tend to be much more laid back and aren’t constantly rushing around like in Vancouver. He says Europeans seem to enjoy the quality of life more or find ways to do so. I found that kind of odd because I find Vancouver pretty easy going already, most of the time anyway. Maybe then, Vancouver is the best of both worlds, where it’s becoming a bigger and more vibrant city, but on the other hand, there is still the nature, mountains and ocean to escape to when you need a break.

Now, my friend’s thoughts may just be his own generalizations and may not apply to other people’s experiences, but he has taught me that you need to try out different cultures and lifestyles in order to be able to compare to your own. You wouldn’t know if you are stuck in a bubble or doing the same routine unless you get out there and experience something different!



INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 200 – 211 Columbia Street
Vancouver BC -V6A 2R5-
Phone: +1 (604) 662 8149

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