On Monday this week I was in Canada for the last time (well, hopefully not, but I mean in connection with my exchange semester). So it happened that my Monday-Canada-Stay was also by far the shortest time I’ve ever been to a country – only 2 hours, but this is an entirely other story. Anyway, I wanted to write about Canada and why I will miss this amazing country so much.
First of all, Canada is huge. And no, I’ve not seen every part of the second largest country in the world. So far I’ve visited Vancouver, parts of interior BC, and the Canadian Rockies in Alberta and of course Victoria and parts of Vancouver Island.
Over the time I got to know the people, the culture and the country in terms of geography and nature better. And I thought that it might be interesting and funny to share some of the things I’ve discovered while I studied at the University of Victoria.
Canadians are super friendly and polite. // This is one of the stereotypes that prove right in 99,9% of all cases. Standing at the bus station and trying to find the schedule – you can be sure that there is a Canadian who sees you struggle and then help you. Or bus drivers who would even stop the bus in order to get out and help a mum with a stroller or a blind person on the bus. Or airport personnel – I once even exchanged pictures of our Alaska trips with a super sweet lady from WestJet. Canada – friendliest place on earth, for sure!!!
“Sorry” & “No Worries” & “Thank you” // Never in my entire life have I heard people using these phases that often. In Canada you even apologise if it is not your fault. I feel they even use them more often then the well-known “eh?”. Getting off the bus – every single passenger says “Thanks” to the bus driver. Say “thanks” and “sorry” a million times a day and you will be well integrated into the Canadian culture.
The Canadian Anti-Freezing Gene // It does exist. Canadians have a special DNA that protects them from being cold. Summer: everyone is hot and wears shorts. Fall: It’s getting chilly outside, still shorts and t-shirts. Winter: Non-locals wear boots, thick jackets, hats, scarfs, etc. while Canadians still wear Flip-Flops. No big deal!
Cheating is considered worse than killing someone // This probably surprised me most. Canadians. Don’t. Cheat. EVER! It is considered to be the worst thing you can do. I realised that as soon as mid-terms started. Professors casually leave the room full of students. But not a single person in there has a cheat sheet or even thinks about talking to the person next to one. Some of us exchange students (who come from cultures where cheating is not allowed either, but students still do it) probably made a really bad impression by only glancing at someone else’s test sheet…
Canada and Alcohol // Alcohol is exclusively sold in “Liquor Stores”, not available in any supermarket. If you want a drink at a bar you need to be prepared to show TWO pieces of IDs, yes! A friend and me wanted to cook risotto one night, therefore we needed white wine. We separated and he would grab the wine while I headed to the supermarket next door for the rest. When I came out again he was still not done. Weird, I thought. Well, there was the problem: I was with him IN THE LIQUOR STORE when I sneaked out again to go to the supermarket and so I had to come back, pick up my friend, show two pieces of IDs and then we were allowed to leave, with the bottle of wine. Yes, as a European you feel like an alcoholic in Canada.
Oh, Canada, I will miss you!! Thanks for everything, eh!