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Mistakes to avoid when studying in Canada as an international student

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Canada is a popular choice for international students to study abroad due to its high-quality education, internationally renowned universities, excellent career opportunities, and rich melting pot culture. Although there are a large number of international students studying in Canada, there are some cultural taboos you should be aware of if you plan to further your studies there. Keep these cultural taboos in mind when communicating with Canadians to avoid embarrassing situations!

Stay away from pointing and staring at strangers.

You may occasionally point your index finger at others, but it’s best to avoid pointing or looking at strangers when discussing someone or something in public. This is because people view it as leering and disrespectful.

Additionally, in some countries, making a “V” sign with your index and middle fingers is considered a “peace” gesture, but this is not the case in Canada. Please note that even if you are posing for a photo, making this sign may anger some people.

Avoid being late for social events and business appointments

In Canada, being late is not cool! Canadians like guests to arrive on time or even a little early for social gatherings and business meetings. This shows that you respect your time and the time of others. They take time very seriously, so when they say 5:00 PM, they really mean it. Being more than 15 minutes early is also considered inappropriate.

If you’re going to be late, it’s a good idea to let people know in advance and not be more than 15 minutes late. Any continued behavior without explanation or apology is always considered rude. Therefore, if you are attending a conference or other event, it is best to avoid any delays.

Don’t forget to leave a 15% tip at the restaurant

This is despite the fact that tipping is standard practice in restaurants. However, when in Canada you are required to tip your waiter at least 15% of the total bill. It is considered very rude to tip too little or not tip at all. If you’re unsure, tip a little more than usual; your waiter will appreciate it. Small acts of gratitude like this really mean a lot.

Avoid raising controversial issues

All three subjects – politics, religion and sex – are not popular in Canada. First, Canadians view politics as a very personal issue and have different views on government policies and programs such as taxation, gun ownership, and drug legalization. They believe it is unacceptable to express strong opinions in public because doing so would be seen as controversial.

Similar to politics, sex is considered a very private matter, and in some cases, engaging in sexually explicit communication can have legal consequences. Therefore, you should avoid discussing your own or others’ sexual orientation.

It is unusual for people to discuss religion openly in Canada because of the huge differences in religious views. In Canada, however, it is generally allowed to publicly identify oneself as a member of a particular faith.

However, defending your religious beliefs in inappropriate situations and actions is considered rude and arrogant.

Avoid being rude or aggressive

Everyone hates dealing with unpleasant or aggressive people because it can damage their mood, as well as yours. If you find yourself feeling upset for any reason, take a moment to calm down without arguing or acting out.

When you approach someone with a calm and open attitude, you increase the likelihood that they will interact with you and maintain respect because kindness is the secret; it always works like a charm!

Don’t be stingy with giving gifts

Canadians often give gifts on special occasions such as Christmas and birthdays. If you are invited to a party, birthday party, dinner, or lunch at someone’s home, bring flowers, a box of chocolates, or a bottle of wine.

If you live in Quebec, it’s customary to send flowers before a dinner party. If you decide to serve wine, it should be the best you can afford. White lilies and cash are the two biggest things you should avoid.

Don’t express your anger in public

In most countries, it is better to resolve disputes privately rather than in a public forum. After all, causing trouble can get in the way of people’s normal lives, which can be very difficult for individuals.

The same goes for Canadians, who often avoid crying or yelling in front of others. So it would be beneficial for everyone if you follow suit and avoid showing anger or any other negative emotions in public. Anger should never be expressed in public or anywhere else.

As this blog explains, be aware of these no-nos if you are starting a new life in Canada to pursue higher goals