Making a good first impression will do you wonders when you arrive in Canada. On the surface it may not seem as if the country has extravagant cultural practices and rules; however, there is a particular social manner and etiquette all Canadians share. For this reason, if you want to immigrate from the UAE to Canada, you need to learn how to walk and talk like a Canadian in order to be successful as a newcomer in the country.
The way you use your body to communicate with others is specific and really important in Canada, we call this Canadian body language. Below we discuss some of the general ways you can make your body language Canadian.
Making eye contact is essential to making a good impression. This does not mean you should be staring at others, rather, when you are talking with someone, make sure to look them in the eye naturally.
Physical contact between strangers and acquaintances is generally not seen. When you meet someone, the expected gesture is a firm handshake - just don’t overdo it. Brief hugs are also becoming more common these days, especially among women. In French-speaking Canada, you might see people practising the French tradition of greeting with a quick kiss on the cheek. This can easily turn into a disaster if you are not familiar with this habit, as a tip, we advise you to wait for the other person to set the tone of the greeting and then you can just follow suit.
General Social Customs
Canadians are very punctual, meaning they like to be and expect you to be on time. If you have a meeting scheduled at 10:00 am you must be there at 10:00 am. Arriving late will not be received well and the people waiting for you will be expecting a good excuse. On the other hand, arriving early will also be seen as a bad thing, because you might catch the other person off guard.
In some cultures gift giving is really common; however, in Canada, this is not as widely seen. Giving someone a gift is normally only done as a gesture of thanks for a favour between acquaintances. Between friends this is more common in Canada but is determined by how close you are to the person. Do not gift money as this is generally only done between family members.
Tipping in Canada is a must. It is customary to add at least 15% to your bill when you eat out. Some people even add more than 15% if the service is particularly exceptional. If you do not tip, it will be noticed immediately. You might even be expected to tip the services of delivery men, hairdressers and taxi drivers, among others. Don’t surprised if you get faced with intense negativity if you didn’t tip.
Though Canada does not have a long list of highly offensive gestures, there are still some considered “bad” and so they must be avoided.
In Canada you should avoid:
|Raising your middle finger - This is considered extremely rude and communicates extreme anger towards someone else.
|Open-mouth yawning - It is best to cover your mouth while you yawn.
|Open-mouth eating - Canadians find it disgusting to chew with their mouth open or to talk with your mouth full of food.
|Pointing or staring - It is rude to point and stare at people in Canada.
These are just some of the many social customs you might encounter when you immigrate from the UAE to Canada. Just always remember, Canadians are courteous, friendly and polite, so you should try your best not to offend anyone.
Though Canada affords their people many civil liberties, like freedom of speech, some topics should still be avoided. Some of the following topics should probably not be talked about in public:
- Status of aboriginal Canadians; and
- The “persecution” of French-Canadians
You could probably get away with talking about these topics in certain contexts, but it is very hard to determine when it is the appropriate time as a newcomer in Canada. We recommend you should stay away from them completely, at least for the first couple of months.
There is no strict social hierarchy in Canadian society. Everyone is treated equally and diversity is celebrated and respected. Men and women are treated as equals and any discrimination based on race, nationality, gender, religion or sexual orientation is condemned by Canadians and their law.
The only social class who might receive some preferential treatment in Canada is the elderly. Canadians respect and admire their older generations, so you might see people give up their seats for the elderly or they might let them cut the queue. Do not get offended in these situations, when you are an old Canadian you can expect to be treated with the same kindness.
Now that you know more about Canadian customs and social etiquette you probably need to know the more important things, like how to immigrate from the United Arab Emirates to Canada. Luckily, we have put together a comprehensive guide for you to learn all the specifics about Canadian immigration easily.
Do You Want to Immigrate From the United Arab Emirates to Canada?
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