My Culture Shock Experiences in Canada

Culture shock is what everyone experiences when they visit a foreign country. Of course, I am one of them.

It has been four years since I moved to Canada from Japan with my three daughters, who were 13, 6, and 4 years old at the time.

I’d like to share some of my culture shock stories, particularly about child raising in Canada.

A group of moms with babies in a beer pub

It was a beautiful sunny day in April, my first month in Canada, when I noticed a group of ladies with babies in strollers drinking beer on the outdoor patio of a beer pub in downtown Vancouver. It was shocking, and all I could think was, “Oh my gosh, I’m so jealous!!” In Japan, I’d never seen anything like this. While drinking alcohol while breastfeeding is not advised, isn’t it nice for busy moms to enjoy sunshine and beer on occasion?

Cereal and milk as lunch at school

It was difficult for my daughters, who didn’t speak English at all, to adjust to school life in Vancouver at first. They did, however, adjust to their new environments and returned home with stories to tell me every day. One of them told me one day that her friend poured milk into a container with cereal, and that was her school lunch. Another time, they noticed someone bringing a whole cucumber, a piece of ham, and bread separately and assembling a sandwich for himself. Those episodes were also a big culture shock to me. Even though I didn’t spend too much time on making lunch boxes when I was in Japan, I had the idea that “lunch boxes should be organised with multiple colourful dishes.” Shared stories about lunch in Vancouver allowed me to think that lunch could be anything as long as kids can enjoy eating, and I loved it.

My two culture shock episodes were among the experiences that taught me how to seek out more comfortable and enjoyable ways to live. I had no idea I was surrounded by ideas like “Mothers should not drink beer at lunchtime with a baby” and “Lunch should look good.” Now I feel more like myself than someone else’s mother with a long list of responsibilities to fulfil in order to be a “good mother.” I enjoy my culture shock episodes because they teach me that we are free to do whatever we want as long as it is not illegal or harmful to others.

I always love to share culture shock episodes, someone’s “A-ha!” moments.

About Cloud Nine College  

Cloud Nine College is a premier vocational (Co-Op) college offering a range of specialized co-op courses and comprehensive Intensive English Programs, including test preparation courses for IELTS and general and business ESL courses to international students. It coordinates its programs uniquely in such ways that students can advance their education to the next level at universities and job opportunities.  

CNC is also an online education platform offering online certificate, diploma, higher diploma, and postgraduate diploma programs progressing to online and offline undergraduate and postgraduate degrees awarded by various educational institutions and universities around the world.

Cloud Nine College started as a language training institution back in 2010 and now has expanded into providing career training programs:  

  • Hotel and Restaurant Management Co-op Diploma  
  • Hotel and Restaurant Management Co-op Certificate  
  • International Trade and Business Management Co-op Diploma  
  • Professional Sales Co-op Certificate  

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“Natsuki” is from Fukuoka, a beautiful city in Japan. Biking, swimming, and walking along the Seawall in Downtown Vancouver with her three daughters are her passion. After completing the Associate Degree of History from Langara College, she has started her new professional career in the education field as an administrative assistant at Cloud Nine College.