Moving to Canada is the dream of thousands of immigrants who apply every year. But now that you’re finally there, the challenge changes to settling down properly. One of the ways to do this is by making friends. So, how do you make friends in Canada as immigrants?
It’s common knowledge that Canadians are friendly people. As an immigrant, you can make friends here by being part of religious groups, joining online chat rooms, attending networking events, joining cultural associations, belonging to a club, befriending your workmates, and meeting other parents.
It’s important that you don’t restrict your friendship efforts to just fellow immigrants. You should also befriend the locals. In this article, we examine the ways you can make friends as an immigrant in Canada.
Ways to make friends in Canada as an Immigrant
As an immigrant in Canada, you’ll need friends to familiarize yourself with the country. Here are ways to make those friends:
1. Join online groups and chat rooms
As an immigrant, you likely know someone who’s from home and currently lives in Canada. The challenge is they’re likely staying in another province or city. However, they can still help you by adding you to the various chat rooms and groups of fellow immigrants that they belong to. You can find someone who lives close to you from these groups and connect on your arrival. Since those people are old-timers, they’re familiar with the country and can show you around in your early days.
While you’re joining online groups, you can also use other online means such as apps and social media. For example, a great platform for meeting new people living near you is Nextdoor. You can also join online groups for your neighbourhood where you can meet those close to you and stay up to date on the latest information on your neighbourhood.
2. Be Part of Religious Groups
This applies to those who practice one religion or the other. There are several places of worship in Canada that you can join. Attending a place of worship isn’t just about praying. It also lets you interact with people of similar interests and participate in volunteering activities within the religious group. You can also make friends with locals who attend your place of worship.
3. Attend Networking Events
Networking events happen regularly in Canada, and you can attend events where you expect to find people who share similar interests with you. While most people are used to the idea of networking as one of the ways to advance your career, it’s also a great way to make new friends if you’re new to a place.
All you have to do at these events is talk to people and exchange contact details with those you plan to meet later. This is why it’s important to attend only events that fall within your interest to avoid making a bad impression and wasting your time.
4. Join Cultural Associations
While you shouldn’t restrict your circle of friends to only immigrants, it’s important to be part of a group with a similar cultural heritage as you. In Canada, almost every cultural and ethnic group has its association in the major cities. So, you only need a simple internet search to find out where and when they meet. It’s not even necessary to join these associations to attend some of their events. So, you might show up anytime there’s a meetup or social program and make friends with people from your homeland.
5. Turn Your Colleagues into Buddies
The people you work with are very important. You see them almost every day, and they contribute to your overall happiness in several ways. While you might scoff at the idea of making friends in the office back home, in Canada, where you have only a few friends, your colleagues represent a good place to start.
As long as you have a great working relationship with them, all it takes to turn a few of them to close friends are regular hangouts between lunch breaks and after work. If you work in a place where everyone usually goes out after work for happy hour, don’t hesitate to join them.
6. Be Part of a Club or Society
Your interests and hobbies can also open the door to friendship for you. Whatever that interest might be, you’ll find people with similar interests and hobbies, and there’s likely an organization already in existence. You can join this organization and, from there, make a few close friends. For example, book clubs are common in several Canadian communities. So, if you’re an avid reader, find the book club in your locality, and soon, you’ll have several reading friends.
There are also social impact organizations focused on different issues in society. If you’re passionate about volunteering, join these organizations or volunteer once in a while. Whatever society or club you choose to join, it’s important to be active and contribute appropriately. That’s the only way to get the best out of your membership and form meaningful relationships.
7. Meet other Parents
You can also make friends through your kids. Generally, every school has a parent-teacher association and other committees where parents can actively get involved. This gives you a chance to meet with other parents, and you can easily hit it off and become friends from there. Whether it’s a fundraising event or a school committee meeting, you need to start a conversation with another parent.
Another way to meet other parents and make friends is to host a get-together for your children’s friends and their parents. This could be in celebration of a birthday or any special event. However, don’t be surprised if some parents don’t show up. Most Canadians are very busy, which means they can decline your invitation.
You should note that most social events in Canada happen outdoor. You can host your get-together in a park, restaurant, or bar, depending on who you’re inviting. Of course, your home isn’t a bad choice either, but it’s less common for Canadians to invite people they don’t know very well into their homes.
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to making friends in Canada as an immigrant. It’s largely about making an effort to meet people and cultivating valuable relationships.