Culture Shock: How to Adapt Upon Arrival to Canada

Adapting to Canada may be challenging, but it can also help you expand your horizons by learning something new. You may be surprised to discover that you have abilities and characteristics you didn’t realize you possessed.

If you’re still hesitant of immigrating to Canada because of the adaptation process, don’t fret! We’re here to give you a better idea of what you and your loved ones may expect throughout the process.

Published on October 14, 2021

Table of Contents

The 4 Stages of Cultural Adjustment

🇨🇦 Stage 1: Honeymoon Phase

The initial stage of culture shock is quite favorable. Travelers get captivated with their new surroundings while they fall in love with the local language, culture, and cuisine. At this point, going on the trip or moving feels like the best choice you’ve ever made, as well as an exciting new experience. 

When visiting Canada for just a short period of time, the honeymoon phase may take over the whole experience since culture shock has not yet had a chance to set in. In the course of longer stays such as relocation, the honeymoon period will quickly come to an end.

🇨🇦 Stage 2: Disenchantment Phase

It’s common for those who have lived overseas or often travel to experience disenchantment, which is often the most painful stage of culture shock. At this point, the frustration of not comprehending gestures, signs, and the language has set in, and misunderstandings may occur.

Everything from misplacing a key to failing to locating transportation to having difficulty ordering takeout may lead to frustration. Depression comes and goes, but it’s a normal response for foreigners who stay in a new country for an extended period.

During the disenchantment stage, it’s normal to feel down or homesick.

🇨🇦 Stage 3: Gradual Recovery Phase

Problems tend to fade once you become used to the people, foods, customs, and languages of a new place. Friends and support networks are formed, making adjustment easier.

If you’re still having trouble adapting, keep working on learning the language and eventually, you’ll get there!

🇨🇦 Stage 4: Acceptance Phase

While it may take weeks, months, or even years after dealing with the many phases of culture shock, the ultimate step is acceptance. Acceptance does not imply a complete understanding of new cultures and surroundings.

Instead, it means that you don’t have to comprehend the new environment to operate and flourish there sufficiently. In the acceptance stage, foreigners may gather the resources they need to feel comfortable with their situation.

Canada flag above two newcomers in a Canadian city
There are 4 phases of your adjustment period once you arrive to Canada!

Common Canadian Immigrant Challenges

Newcomers to Canada face many challenges. These difficulties include dealing with employers that aren’t acquainted with foreign job experience and qualifications, adjusting to Canadian culture, and coping with prejudice and language obstacles.

The following are five common challenges encountered by new Canadian immigrants that you should be aware of:

Learning a new language is notoriously challenging for foreigners, and it’s no different when moving to another country. Every element of our life changes when we encounter other people, regardless of whether or not we can communicate.

Knowing the official Canadian language is essential for everything from landing a job to enrolling in school to just navigating about town or doing your grocery shopping.

The cost of living in Canada will differ from what newcomers are used to in their home country. They may have to accept a lower-paying position while learning new skills or gaining experience in Canada.

Therefore, you should be aware of the possibility of your financial situation altering.  While your income may be more significant in Canada than it was back home, the cost of living there may be more than you’re accustomed to.

In addition to their unique knowledge and abilities, immigrants contribute significantly to the Canadian economy. However, despite their high levels of education and hard work, many immigrants encounter difficulties in beginning and developing their professions in their new nation.

The majority of these difficulties arise because immigrants are frequently unaware of the differences between the work environment in their home countries and the workplace culture in Canada, particularly regarding communication, responsibility allocation, feedback, networking, and other factors.

Adapting to healthcare is difficult for newcomers in Canada because of a variety of reasons, such as difficulty navigating the Canadian health care system, lack of knowledge of the country’s health care system, and cultural and gender-based concerns.

Newcomers with little financial resources are more likely to live in cheap housing, poor conditions, or neighbourhoods with high poverty or violence rates. Children of immigrants who live in poor housing may also be exposed to gangs, drugs, and violence because of poor living environments. 

Tips in Dealing with Culture Shock for New Immigrants

As difficult as it will be to adjust to living in Canada, taking the necessary steps ahead of time may make a big difference in your overall experience as an immigrant! Please keep in mind that you are not alone in going through these changes and that many immigrants can successfully adapt to Canadian culture within a very short amount of time.

To conclude, you may want to read our useful article where you’ll find the best tips to utilize after your arrival to begin adapting to Canada’s society.

Newcomer in Canada with Canada Flag
Adjusting to Canada is not easy, but possible!