International Exchange Students – Getting to know another country and their culture as more than just a tourist has been very fulfilling. I’ve had the opportunity to know the Canadian lifestyle and also be a part of it. As a foreigner, I instantly started to compare our lifestyles, culture, behavior, and other aspects in our ways of living.
One of the things that have impacted me most since I arrived here is the weather. Coming from a Caribbean island where we have summer all year round, the climate is obviously very different. At first, the cool wind was so refreshing, then the leaves started changing their colors and falling off the trees, and now snow is falling some days. All these changes influence the way we dress, although Canadians are used to cooler temperatures. It shocks me when I see someone wearing shorts and sandals, and I’m wearing three layers of clothing.
Another big difference that I’ve found between Dominicans and Canadians is the way we interact with other people. We do have in common that people overall are very friendly and welcoming. Canadians are much more polite and respectful to each other, but they’re more private and like to keep their distance. Dominicans will kiss you on the cheek and give you a hug, it doesn’t matter if you’ve just met. And we can be very loud too.
What I really like about Canada is the cultural diversity that you can find. People are really open to different cultures and preferences of the others. Also, there’s a great standard of living and care for the citizens. Sadly, in Dominican Republic there’s a lot of poverty, poor care for society, and a lot of economic and social issues for society to develop. Here in Canada is a sense of personal safety and security that we don’t have in Dominican Republic. I guess that’s the difference between a first-world country and a third-world or developing country.
This experience has been life-changing. Getting to know a different culture, different people, another part of the world, impacts your way of thinking and living in general. To experience something so different from what you’re used to makes you grow as an individual, and it makes you expand your goals in life. This is definitely something that I will never regret or forget.
International Exchange Student, Dominican Republic
Tourism Management, Akerley Campus