Moving to a new country can be a life-changing experience, as it offers the opportunity to learn about different cultures, customs, and ways of life. As someone who moved from India to Canada three years ago, I have discovered some lessons along the way. In this blog post, I will share some of the insights I have gained while adapting to life in Canada.
No Country is Perfect
While it’s easy to idealize a new country before moving there, I quickly realized that every nation has its own set of problems. For instance, India struggles with issues such as pollution, overpopulation, and income inequality, while Canada faces challenges related to climate change and the cost of living. It’s essential to recognize that no country is perfect, and each has its unique strengths and weaknesses.
During my initial days in Canada, I found myself missing the delicious food, warm weather, and low cost of living back in India. However, as I settled into my new life, I began to appreciate the advanced infrastructure, easy access to information and technology, and well-managed communities in Canada. This realization helped me to understand that it’s important to embrace the positives of both countries and learn from their differences. By acknowledging the imperfections of each nation, we can grow as individuals and strive to make our surroundings better, no matter where we live.
The Importance of Safety and Human Life
One aspect of Canadian life that stood out to me is the emphasis on safety and the value of human life. In contrast, India, being a developing country, is still focused on fulfilling basic necessities for its citizens, which sometimes results in a lack of attention to safety measures. This focus on safety in Canada can be seen through the implementation of strict regulations and well-maintained infrastructure
For instance, wearing protective gear while riding a bicycle(even a motorbike for that matter) is something I had never even imagined in India. The concept of car seats for kids is strictly followed in Canada, unlike in India where we used to just put the baby in our lap during car rides. Another example is construction workers in Canada who are always seen wearing hard hats, boots, and safety gear, while in India, it is common to see them working in slippers without any protective equipment.
These personal experiences made me realize the significant emphasis on safety and the value of human life in Canadian society. It serves as a reminder to be more conscious about safety measures and appreciate the efforts put in place to protect citizens, no matter where we are.
Rule-following and Awareness
People in Canada tend to follow rules and exhibit a strong awareness of laws and regulations. This behavior can be attributed to several factors, like a strong sense of social responsibility, and comprehensive education on the importance of following rules for the greater good. The adherence to rules results in a more orderly society, which contributes to the overall quality of life in Canada.
A major factor contributing to this difference, I believe, is the level of education. If people become more educated in India, they will understand the rules better and be more likely to follow them. In Canada, if you put a sign without a boundary saying “No trespassers allowed,” most people will follow it. In contrast, in India, even if you put a 6 ft wall, people will jump over it.
A large part of society in India is taken advantage of, even at the smallest level because they don’t know their rights. People with knowledge and education will usually exploit such people rather than helping them.
The Environmental Impact of a High Quality of Life
While the quality of life in Canada is undoubtedly high, it comes at the cost of exploiting the environment. For example, Canadians consume a significant amount of paper and often use disposable products for convenience. Additionally, the prevalence of single-occupant vehicles, energy-intensive heating and cooling systems, and large homes with fewer occupants contribute to a larger ecological footprint. This realization has inspired me to adopt more sustainable habits and be mindful of my environmental impact.
In my personal experience, I’ve noticed how people in Canada value convenience more than cost or the impact on the environment.
For example, In the gym, I see people using loads of tissue after using an equipement for wiping it and throwing it in the bin. In contrast, I usually keep one tissue and reuse it for wiping with fresh disinfectant. Single-use cutlery, cups, and spoons are used rampantly. In India, I would do two loads of clothes with one tank full in the washing machine, here is no option. I had never used a dryer before for drying clothes.
I think because the population in Canada is relatively low, they can still dump all the waste that they generate. However, I doubt that with a growing population, such practices will be sustainable in the long run.
While both India and Canada have social and economic disparities, Canada seems to be further in promoting gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and inclusivity. This commitment to equality is evident in policies such as pay equity legislation and multiculturalism.
Talking about LGBTQ, the building where I live held a town hall to gather people’s thoughts about converting washroom to be “All Genders” instead of just Men-Women. Some places (like the Niagra welcome center) even have all gender washrooms now. I don’t think something like this I could even imagine back in India.
Also equality is not just about income parity, but also about thought parity. I’ve experienced this firsthand in social settings, where I can join a group of people regardless of my age.
For example, I attend meetups where I have conversations with people of all ages without any hesitation. In contrast, in India, I might worry about offending someone older by not addressing them as “Sir” or acknowledging their seniority. This more casual and equal approach to social interactions in Canada puts you more at ease and gives you ability to make a difference without worrying about how old you are.
My journey from India to Canada has been an enriching experience filled with lessons about the complexities of life.
By recognizing the imperfections of each nation and embracing their unique strengths, we can learn valuable lessons and grow as individuals.