Student Life

India culture vs Canada culture: What students can expect and how to adapt

By Guru H• Published on: Mar 15, 2024
Everything you need to study abroad
Get step-by-step guidance all through your study-abroad journey

Canada has emerged as a leading destination for international students seeking high-quality education and diverse cultural experiences.

It’s no secret that Canada is one of the most popular study destinations. The country’s education system ranks among the best in the world, and its universities are renowned for their research excellence.

But, starting a journey to pursue higher education in Canada can be challenging for Indian students. The cultural difference between India and Canada is a primary reason for this. Both countries have diverse and rich cultures.

Knowing their differences and what to expect in Canadian culture can drastically improve your study-abroad experience.

If you are an Indian student wanting to study in Canada, read more to know the differences between Canadian and Indian cultures.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • The differences between Indian and Canadian cultures
  • What can Indian students expect from these differences
  • How to adapt to the Canadian culture

Ready to study in Canada and explore the cultural differences between India and Canada? Let's get started.

India culture vs Canada culture: Key differences

Cultural differences 

  1. Food
  2. Language
  3. Lifestyle
  4. Family and social life
  5. Professional life

Adapting to Canadian culture 

  1. Making new friends
  2. Dealing with homesickness
  3. Exploring food options
  4. Learning the language accent
  5. Maintaining study-life balance 
  6. Earning while learning 

Aspire to study in Canada? Here’s everything you need to know!

Cultural differences

1. Food

Indian cuisine has a mixture of flavours and spices. It includes a variety of traditional vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes with many ingredients and spices. The staple foods include rice, lentils, and bread. 

Canadian cuisine consists of ingredients like berries and maple syrup. Classic Canadian dishes include poutine (french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy) and butter tarts.

In India, meals are mostly shared with families and friends, having an array of dishes. Indian dining is a social event. On the other hand, Canadian dining tends to be more individualistic.

2. Language

India and Canada have many differences in linguistic styles. India has numerous regional languages with different dialects and has various gestures to greet people with respect.

Canada is bilingual, with English and French being the country's two official languages. In Canada, the common language is English and tends to be more straightforward. Politeness is maintained, but the preference for being clear and concise prevails.

But in provinces like Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, French holds significant influence. Apart from this, several languages are spoken alongside by immigrants from around the world.

Formality is maintained in Indian communication, especially in academic and professional settings, with titles often used to show respect. However, in Canada, people interact more casually, addressing each other by first name.

3. Lifestyle

Indian and Canadian lifestyles exhibit stark differences in clothing, hobbies, activities, and festivals. 

Indian traditional attire varies widely across regions, with vibrant colours and designs. On the other hand, Canadian fashion is more casual and functional.

In India, communal activities with family gatherings and festivals are usual events. Hiking, camping, skiing, and music events contribute to a diverse range of recreational activities in Canada and are usually done with friends.

Indian festivals are accompanied by rituals and traditional performances. Festivals like Diwali, Holi, and Eid are celebrated for consecutive days. In Canada, festivals like Christmas and Easter are celebrated through social gatherings, feasts, and festive decorations.

Also read: 9 Canadian traditions you should know about

4. Family and social life

In India, the practice of extended families and living together or nearby is common.

Respect for elders and family traditions is given importance. Indians often engage in collective activities, be it celebrating festivals, attending weddings, or religious ceremonies.

Social hierarchies and maintaining a good reputation within the community are some major aspects of Indian social life.

Canadian family life tends to be more nuclear and individualistic. While family ties are important, personal space and privacy are highly valued.

Family gatherings and social activities are significant during holidays, but the frequency and scale may differ from the elaborate celebrations in India. Socialising may involve smaller groups.

5. Professional life

Indian professional life is often influenced by hierarchy and respect for authority.

Corporate structures are more formal, with employees addressing their colleagues and seniors using titles. Long working hours are common, and the work-life balance can sometimes be towards professional commitment.

Compared to India, Canadian professional life is more egalitarian. Colleagues typically address each other by first names regardless of their position.

Work-life balance and personal commitments are strongly emphasised, with flexible working hours.

Adapting to Canadian culture

1. Making new friends

Making new friends with students from Canada is a great way to adapt to their culture! Studying in Canada allows you to meet people from around the globe and opens doors to new experiences. Studying abroad by yourself may be difficult, but with a group of friends, your experience can be much better.

Friends can make you feel better mentally and even help you with your studies. Moreover, studying with friends is a great way to get work done and socialise. You get to meet people from various parts of the country and learn more about Canadian culture.

Also read: How to make new friends when studying abroad

2. Dealing with homesickness

Adapting to Canadian culture not only eases homesickness for Indian students but also enhances personal growth.

Engaging in local customs like having tea with a group of people, participating in cultural events like Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and learning about the local lifestyle bring comfort and familiarity to their new surroundings.

Connecting with fellow students, engaging in extracurricular activities, and participating in community events can help Indian students feel like Canada is a second home. This becomes a crucial support system during moments of homesickness.

3. Exploring food options

Food is an integral part of socialising in Canada, and adapting to local cuisine helps to get into Canadian social circles. Whether joining students or colleagues for lunch or participating in dining events, Indian students can get to know Canadian culture better.

Shared meals create a relaxed environment for conversation, helping students to initiate conversations and build connections. Exploring markets, trying regional dishes, and engaging in conversations about food become opportunities for cultural exchange.

4. Learning the language accent

The English accents vary across Canada depending on location and are quite different from each other. Understanding lectures, participating in discussions, and engaging with peers become easier.

Whether engaging in casual conversations with students and native people, participating in social events, or networking for future opportunities, learning the Canadian language accent makes adapting to Canadian culture smoother for Indian students.

5. Maintaining study-life balance 

A healthy study-life balance is crucial for Indian students to adapt to Canadian culture. Spending time with people and engaging in social activities helps Indian students to get along well with Canadian culture.

Engaging in extracurricular activities or joining university student clubs and sports teams is a great way to adapt to Canadian culture and have a healthy balance between study and personal life.

Many universities have international student societies and clubs to welcome all students. This balance contributes to a better academic journey for Indian students.

Also read: What’s student life like in Canada?

6. Earning while learning

Engaging in internships or part-time jobs while studying in Canada can be an eye-opening experience for Indian students. By actively participating in internships, Indian students not only gain practical skills and work experience but also become familiar with the Canadian work culture.

Internships and part-time jobs also help in earning money and saving the costs of living, thus reducing financial stress. Part-time jobs and internships also serve as networking platforms, enabling Indian students to interact with professionals and peers. By adapting to the Canadian work culture, Indian students will have a better overall experience in their study abroad journey.

Also read: Your step-by-step guide to finding an internship abroad

Tips for Indian students in Canada to adapt to cultural differences

  • Be open-minded to adapt to the Canadian culture. Learn more about the people, language, and traditions to enhance your study experience in Canada. 
  • Trying local dishes in Canada is a great way to blend into the culture. 
  • Engage in conversations and participate in class discussions. Reach out to peers and professors for support. 
  • Similarly, you can seek support from your university. Canadian universities offer multiple support services for Indian students. Don't hesitate to ask for help.
  • Familiarise yourself with the Canadian education system.
  • Joining student societies and clubs is an excellent way to meet new people and engage in activities aligned with your interests. 
  • Actively participate in cultural events, festivals, and gatherings. Canada hosts multiple events throughout the year.
  • Work part-time or find an internship to understand the Canadian work culture, gain work experience, and reduce your financial stress.
Everything you need to study abroad
Get step-by-step guidance all through your study-abroad journey

Get ready to study in Canada

At Edvoy, we pride ourselves on simplifying the study-abroad process for students. With comprehensive guidance, we'll assist with

  • Finding the ideal study abroad program in Canada
  • Selecting universities with connections to global industries
  • Navigating the application process for both studies and internships
  • Overcoming challenges like visa requirements and language barriers
  • Maximising the learning, cultural immersion, and long-term career benefits

Explore the culture and education of Canada with our platform.

Edvoy helps you turn your aspirations into a global education journey, making your decision process seamless. Discover the perfect institution to boost your educational experience.

Start your study abroad journey with Edvoy. Get in touch with a friendly Edvoy Counsellor and download the app today.

India culture vs Canada culture: Your questions answered!

We've collated answers to commonly asked questions to assist you in your study abroad journey. Find your answers below!

Everything you need to study abroad
Get step-by-step guidance all through your study-abroad journey

How is Canada different from India?

Canada differs from India culture-wise in food, language, lifestyle (clothing, hobbies/activities, festivals), family and social life, and professional life.

How is life in Canada for Indians?

Canada offers many benefits in terms of lifestyle for Indians. These include high salaries and employee benefits like paid leave or vacation time, health insurance, and many more. Canada also offers multicultural diversity for Indians in terms of food, and language.

Is it worth moving to Canada from India?

Yes. Canada has emerged as a leading destination for international students seeking high-quality education and diverse cultural experiences.

The country’s education system is ranked among the best in the world, and its universities are renowned for their research excellence. Canada also provides multiple job opportunities for Indian students post-graduation. The country has a strong economy with stable growth. 

Why do most Indians move to Canada?

Indian students often prefer studying and moving to Canada for several compelling reasons:

  • World-class education - Canada is home to many top-ranked universities renowned for their academic excellence, cutting-edge research, and innovative teaching methods. 
  • Diverse range of programs - Canadian universities offer a wide variety of programs and majors, allowing students to choose fields that align with their interests and career goals. 
  • International exposure - Living and studying in a culturally diverse environment exposes Indian students to different perspectives, lifestyles, and cultures, fostering personal growth and adaptability.
  • Quality of life - Canada offers a high standard of living with modern amenities, healthcare facilities, and a safe environment, making it an attractive destination for Indian students seeking a comfortable and secure lifestyle.
  • Career opportunities - A degree from a Canadian university often opens doors to global career opportunities. Many Indian students aspire to work in multinational companies or pursue further studies or research on an international scale after completing their education in Canada.
  • Post-graduation work opportunities - Canada provides graduate visas for students, allowing them to gain work experience for up to 3 years after completing their studies.
Related tags:
Indian culture
Canada culture
Cultural differences between Canada and India
Difference between India and Canada culture
Indian student life in Canada
Share this article:
author avatar
Written By

Study Abroad Expert

Guru, a passionate content creator with a knack for crafting compelling stories. He enjoys delving into the world of stu...Read More

Disclaimer: The views and opinions shared in this site solely belong to the individual authors and do not necessarily represent t