When you think of Canada, you probably think of its picture postcard beauty – wide-open spaces, dramatic mountains, pristine forests and majestic lakes. What might not come to mind, however, is that Canada is a modern, progressive, open and tolerant multi-cultural society with two official languages – English and French.

Living in Canada is similar in many respects to living in other Western countries, however there are some different aspects with foreign countries. Lisa Kanauchi from Japan and Juyoung Jeon from Korea would like to share the differences between their country culture and Canadian culture.

“In Japan, we can’t choose the class that we are interested in and each student doesn’t have a counsellor,” said Kanauchi. “Canadians would like to celebrate their present, they are more focus on themselves and the past,” said Jeon.

Some of the international students shared their understanding about how they connect themselves to Canadian culture. All of them mentioned the way of surfing the Internet before they came to Canada and through learning social studies as well as life in Canada. “For me, I will talk with my host family at weekends because they are Canadian and I am Japanese. I think our conversations are different because of country clash. Furthermore, I will participate the hockey club sports club after school, that helps me learn more traditional hockey rules from first-hand experience,” said Kaito Yamada from Japan. “I immigrated to Canada with my parents in May of 2015. On weekends, I will participate in local activities with my parents and meet new people,” said Kate Wang from China.

But, not everything goes smoothly at first. For international students, the most difficult part for them might be how to communicate with other local students and teachers. “For me, when I first came here, I did not know anyone and had nowhere to go. I was afraid of speaking to others not to mention making friends with them. They may misunderstand my words because of my language problems. Both of us may struggle with language and cultural barriers,” said Jason Wang from China.

One year after arriving, international students started to get familiar with surroundings. They have a good relationship with Canadian students. Lisa, Kaito and Juyoung would like to share their methods of making friends with others. “Riverside Secondary has a big cafeteria, all of the students from different countries sit together at lunch time. They can chat with each other and share their day with them. Also, choose the class that has more Canadian students, you can make friends with them also improve your speaking skills,” said Kanauchi. “My friend and I are in the same Art class, and he sits next to my chair. We cherish the same ideals and follow the same path and soon we became friends,” said Yamada. “After every class, I will approach to speak with local students and challenge myself of speaking English,” said Jeon.