INTERNeX Canada: Culture shock

I find exceptional how the Public transport works here at Vancouver, and of course it´s absolutely different from another cities I´ve lived in.

Vancouver

Sometimes  you can see  the sign “Sorry, full bus”, and that´s why buses don´t accept more people when there is enough inside. Inside the bus is often quiet and the people usually speak lowly. Another good thing is that you can trust in the timetable. One day, we were in Grouse Mountain  and the bus driver was a couple of minutes earlier for his route so he just stopped in the second stop and read the newspaper until the exactly hours  it has to start. It was kind of funny see the bus stopped and the bus driver reading, but it´s good to be able to trust the public transportation.

Madrid

Absolutely different .Comparing with Vancouver is like a jungle, there is only one law; the law of the strongest. Of course there is no limit in the “capacity” so when you think: How can I am going to get in? In that moment a little woman or an old man or someone pushes the rest of the people to get in and the worse of all is that in the meanwhile you stay there with stupid face out of the bus waiting for the next crowed one.

In Madrid is better don´t doubt, just do it, otherwise leave home with time…  And once you are lucky enough and you are inside, put the music loud and be patient if you don´t want to heard all the gossip of the city!

Rome

Well, Rome rocks! And the transportations are totally crazy there! I have been living there for 9 months and I don´t remember to pay any bus ticket! You can enter for the backdoor and the bus driver doesn´t say anything so… anyone or not that much people usually pay for the services… When my parents visited me I even made them not to pay. I remember the face of my mother so scared all the way long.  Maybe this is not something to write in a blog but if you have been living in Rome for a while, you will understand what I am saying. Of course if they caught you will have to pay a penalty! So better not to try if you are a tourist!

Wherever you are, is always funny to know the differences and learn about that!

Cheers,

Irene

INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 200 – 211 Columbia Street
Vancouver BC -V6A 2R5-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Phone: +1 (604) 662 8149
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

INTERNeX Canada: Culture Shock

You think you prepared for your stay abroad by arranging accommodation and job, by googling street maps and city sights. It works fine at first, all the big stuff seems to be taken care of. But then you want to check the weather for tomorrow, get curtains for your new room or buy cheese at the market. And that’s where it gets difficult. It is said to be 68°F tomorrow, the curtains are 70 inches long, and the cheese is $5 a pound. Eeeeh, what?!?! Where are the degrees Celsius, the centimeters, the grams? So googling and memorizing starts again. Especially someone without a smartphone (yes, it happens) has to plan all the activities in advance and google all the measures that might be needed.

We went bungee jumping recently, so I memorized my weight and height in pounds and feet, just in case… Did you have a chance to go shopping for clothes and shoes in Canada? There are all kinds of different sizes, too! It works out in the end but it took me a couple of try-ons to find out that I need my boots in 37 ½. Ever noticed that Canadian use of dots and commas in numbers is different? Here you have $1,000.00 on your account and a coffee is $1.99, while Europeans have $1.000,00 and spend $1,99. Watch out for that when you handle your CAD$! Thanks God miles per hour are not used in Canadian cars to indicate speed! I was surprised to see the road signs in kilometers, too. Before my first drive I was prepared to be a little disoriented on the road not knowing how fast I am driving.

How fast did you adjust to these little differences? Did any funny incidents happen to you because you had no idea about the figures you were dealing with?

Xenia

INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 200 – 211 Columbia Street
Vancouver BC -V6A 2R5-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Phone: +1 (604) 662 8149
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

INTERNeX Canada: Culture Shock

Although Timmy is my best friend now, my first time at Tim Horton’s was quite a shock… Tim Horton’s is supposed to be VERY Canadian, so I decided to try. I didn’t know that you need to prepare…

First of all, people in front of me ordered a “double double” and “timbits”. That is where I panicked and doubted my English abilities: I didn’t understand what they were saying, my English is obviously not as good as I thought?! Then, I was caught off guard when the server stares at me very expectantly after I ordered a “coffee”. Turns out you have to tell them how you’d like your coffee, if you want cream or sugar, and how much of it. I also had to answer a million questions about my breakfast sandwich: “bagel, English muffin or biscuit? beef, bacon or sausage? white egg or normal egg? cheese or no cheese?” And they want their answers FAST. So you better know what you want.

But once you had a couple of those experiences and get used to this icon of Canadian culture, you also order a “double double and a maple doughnut” with ease. Tim Horton’s is as Canadian as it can get, and if you manage to order there, so are you.

Check out all this Canadian-ness: It was founded in Canada (!) by a Canadian (!) Ice Hockey player (!) who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs (!) – I could already stop here, right!?  But it gets more Canadian. Tim Horton was from a rural small town (!) of Hamilton, Ontario (!). The first restaurant was opened in Hamilton in Ottawa Street (!). What makes Tim Horton’s one of THE Canadian symbols today is the fact that there are more Timmy’s stores in Canada than there is McDonald’s (!).

How do you like your coffee? Are you a double double Canadian yet?

Cheers,

Xenia

INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 200 – 211 Columbia Street
Vancouver BC -V6A 2R5-
Web: www.internexcanada.com
Phone: +1 (604) 662 8149
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

INTERNeX Canada: Culture Shock

Do you know how you get Dutch people to be mad at you? I succeeded.

I made this terrible mistake this week and got punished for it :-), not only with this extra blog post from my boss, but also with disapproving looks and comments from the (quite big!) Dutch INTERNeX community. I openly declared someone being from Holland. That is wrong. The Dutch are from The Netherlands! I now remember that every time Germany and The Netherlands/Holland engaged in their usual soccer rivalries I was wondering why this country seems to have two names. I learned now that Holland is just a region in The Netherlands. So it’s The Netherlands. Never will make this mistake again.

Thinking about this faux pas of mine, similar issues from my own and other countries came to my mind. The world likes to think of Germans as leather pants-wearing and beer-drinking Bavarians. Just to make it clear: Germany is not Bavaria and people usually don’t dress like that (the beer thing might be true, though).

Another thing I learned recently: you better don’t assume that somebody is from Australia just because they speak Aussie English. Apparently, New Zealanders in hostels all over Canada constantly have to listen to people who label them Australians. By the time they cross Canada, they might get slightly mad at anybody who calls them that!

And of course, Canadians are not American! I lived with this very committed and proud Quebecois-Canadian lady once. The first thing she told me was that Canadians are different from their southern neighbors. Even more important, people from the French-speaking province of Quebec are not like the rest of Canada. So, should you ever encounter a person from this eastern province, remember: Quebecers are kind of ok with being Canadian, they are not in the least American, and they are certainly not French, they just speak it! 

Cultural lessons like this are exactly the reason why I love being abroad and meeting so many different people. Staying in my familiar comforts at home I probably wouldn’t have learned that Holland is not the same as The Netherlands or that you never never ever should refer to Quebecers as French.

Have you ever experienced something similar? Do you have more examples? Please let me know!

Xenia

INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 200 – 211 Columbia Street
Vancouver BC -V6A 2R5-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Phone: +1 (604) 662 8149
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

INTERNeX Canada: Culture Shock

PEOPLE ARE SOOO NICE HERE!!!

Let’s explore our impressions of coming to a new country and finding Canada a little bit different than our homes…

Nice people – this is probably the very first Culture Shock experience when foreigners arrive in Canada (especially Europeans 🙂 ). Already at the airport, when you are still lost and disoriented, people suddenly ask you if you need help with your bags. You, even more confused, are wondering why they talk to you, those strangers?!

While back home people are busy with their own business, always in a hurry, in Canada all they seem to care about is smiling and helping you. When you walk around in the city bumping into crowds while looking at your map, Canadians apologize to you because YOU are in their way. To say sorry for things they didn’t do, well, this is polite! Here, you won’t ever enter any building without a “Hello, How Are You” or leave a store without a “Thank You, Have a Nice Day”. Have you ever been in a bus in Vancouver? On my first ride I sat in the back in one of those extra-long busses and watched people yelling “Thank You” to the driver while they got off the bus through the very last back door!

What about you? Have you had similar experiences with this Canadian kindness? Tell us your stories!

Have a nice Sunday, be nice and hug somebody!

Xenia

INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 200 – 211 Columbia Street
Vancouver BC -V6A 2R5-
Web: http://www.internexcanada.com
Phone: +1 (604) 662 8149
Email: pr@internexcanada.com

Fun Facts about Canada

Today I would like to share some facts about Canada specifically things you SHOULD NOT do here in Canada. Many things are different to Europe or Asia. So inform yourself before you do something even though you are sure about the laws. Better safe than sorry. Here are a few things you have to take care of!

  • Do not drink and drive: The legal alcohol limit is indeed 0,8‰ BUT in case of an accident the insurance will pay nothing at all and also the police men know no mercy in case of drink and drive and the penalties are brutal! It´s also not allowed to drink on streets out of bottles.
  • Never forget to have a health insurance for your stay in Canada. A day in a   Canadian hospital can easily cost you around 1000$ or even more so get  informed about the insurance!
  • If you go to one of the many national parks, never feed an animal or break an branch! A bouquet of flowers from a national park can cost you up to 500$, so you better buy one at a florist!
  • For the smokers among us: Smoking is kind of a taboo in Canada and much more expansive than in Europe. In all public buildings (Bars, Clubs, Airports etc.) it´s not allowed to smoke. There is even a law that you are not allowed to smoke within 6 meters from entrances of public buildings.

Cheers, Lydia

INTERNeX International Exchange
Suite 200-211 Columbia Street
Vancouver BC -V6A 2R5-
Web: www.internexcanada.com