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Culture (Not So) Shock

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ImageIt still irritates me a decent amount that coming to Toronto counts as study abroad and in preparing to go I had to be treated like people going to places like France and parts of Asia.

Something that was stressed hugely is the concept of culture shock. I don’t know why but every time I’ve been in Canada and find something culturally different, I always chuckle. Except now I’m not immediately going back to Boston and I have to somewhat assimilate here and the differences stick out more than ever.

One thing, which I can’t recall if I already touched on, is that no one jay-walks. I still do however and when I do, I get a death stare. I mean, if no cars are coming and I’m on a cross walk it shouldn’t be a big deal right? Right. But nooooooooo. I’ll look back to see if anyone followed me and I’m greeted with a look of disgust. It’s made me a lot more into using crosswalks for sure whereas I’d typically meander out into on coming traffic that has a gap in its flow of automobiles.

Another thing is the lack of the same products. My gosh, going to Wal-Mart had to be one of the most infuriating things I had done once I got here. There is like, nothing. It’s wild. There wasn’t the same facewash I use, the same brand of seltzer water I like and the one thing I found amusing was the influx of everything relating to hockey. Grocery shopping was pretty irritating too. It didn’t dawn on me until I was looking at frozen foods that Canada doesn’t have Bagel Bites. That’s a substantial part of my diet. I was crushed.

The last thing I can really think of is in regards to my classes. I’m taking an intro psych class and a class on Canadian short stories. When I do readings, it is all pretty simple and like regular readings but occasionally I’ll get caught up on some things. Like when I see something like “favourite” or “behaviour” rather than the spellings I’m used to. My favorite that I laughed at when I was reading was a reference to “grade one” instead of “first grade” as I’m used to. While these are amusing and kind of trip me off and throw off my concentration, it’s so weird to think that I’m the one that is on the outside here. I’m the only one concerned with speaking to my professor to ask if I will get points off if I spell “centre” as “center.”

Oh and forget about watching the weather forecast. 25 degrees is forever a bitter temperature, not something very warm.


But for the most part I’m enjoying the things I’m not used to. For one, I’m enjoying the amount of my childhood I can relive through food m

ostly and a TV show. I lived in England when I was little so all the little things I had as child that I’m finding here are fantastic. My jaw may have literally dropped when I found Ribena in the grocery store and crushing Smarties is great too. I can combine the two while watching my favorite childhood show “Katie and Orbie,” which I was convinced was actually my life. It’s fantastic.

I’ve been here two weeks and I feel like I could be here forever.


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