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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Toronto, Canada

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?


Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?


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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

Yes, already spoke the language.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No, I knew about it and had experienced it several times before in other countries and expected it so I read a lot about Canada and observed the culture shock as we went through it.

How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Fairly significant.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

The "embarrassing" blunder we committed is actually leaving our dandelions in the garden because we like them. It's one of the few flowers children are actually allowed to pick in abundance. However, according to several of my friends, it is actually "asocial" to have dandelions in your garden because you "contaminate" the gardens around you and trouble your neighbours who will therefore have to work harder getting rid of theirs. I am still in culture shock and feel sad about this desire to eradicate innocent natural plants (including forget-me-nots, lilies of the valley, and many other beautiful wildflowers which don't cause any harm.)

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Comments about this Report

Dec 17, 2010 03:25

How shocking!

Feb 2, 2011 17:19

Dont know what part of Toronto you were living in mate...but whoever told you that was an bit misinformed themselves. Yes there are those that might consider the dandelion or any of those other wild flowers you named, an eyesore but its ok to let em grow and not feel what you did. Its your garden, and therefore ok. Unless your neighbour is a real arse.

Jul 1, 2011 15:35

As a Cornishman living in Ontario, I have to agree that in suburban areas there is a certain amount of socal pressure to keep dandelions from proliferating, but elsewhere they grow in great profusion; especially in my garden. However to say that forget-me-nots and lilies of the valley are included in the eradication is downright nonsense. The great profusion of wildflowers in the countryside and along roadsides is one of the beauties of this Province. Incidentally,verges are mowed nowadays where once herbicides were used. If this lady found the cultural shock of a stay in this counry "fairly significant", I would advise her not to venture beyond Southend-on-Sea or west of the Tamar.

Oct 9, 2011 00:56

they are not a flower but considered a weed. They are not at all pretty and if u keep them you will be viewed as neglectful and trashy property. You can bring your front value down since they are such a huge menace. I know it is so fickle us Ontarians and our snotty property front view but it can be something to be proud of as well. We love our lawns and landscaping.

Dec 13, 2011 19:33

Wow. I never considered dandelions on my lawn (and the social pressure to eradicate them) to be a 'fairly significant culture shock' occurance. Eating dog meat from a street vendor or communal, open air toilets or not being allowed to drive because I am a woman: from a western's perspective - that is what I would call culture shock. But dandelions on a lawn.... where did you come from? Please, I have to know!

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