It is not only that one has to get used to the long and harsh Canadian winter…Living in a new country, adapting to the new culture in our new home is a process that takes time and requires many skills –how to snow- board is one, for sure!
Easy is to understand the Anglo-Saxon Canadians, highly predictable in general as they are for the most part easy going, a little bit cold compared to our standards when establishing human relations; but also very respectful of codes, rules, protocols and laws.
One thing still is to understand and another one is to handle it and be able to change our habits and costumes so we don’t get into trouble.
As a facilitator of cross cultural sessions intended for Canadians slatted to live and work in Latin America I have been able to identify some cultural difference that one faces either there or here.
You can guess that Canadians respect so much privacy that even they speak about personal space –estimated in one arm’s length when extended.
But it is kind of weird from our point of view that what makes us so lovely as Latin American can make us also to be seen as intrusive, unpolite and aggressive individuals.
So, make sure you don’t move that much your hands while speaking –don’t touch them in the forearms expecting them to see this as a way of reinforcing our emotions or making sure they are following us-.
But, and this is crucial, don’t make funny personal questions even if you as a Latino consider that a Canadian is already one of your best amigos.
No way! Marital status, age, salary, sexual orientation, and other personal issues are no allowed to be share, unless the ‘gringo’ thinks it is fine with him/her to do so.
These are general rules, with some exceptions, but for those of you who are new to Canada the best advice to follow when dealing with Canadians and while in Canada is to remember the popular proverb that says: In Rome do as Romans do.
In this case, one can change Rome for Toronto. But remember that here we speak English no Latin!