The 10 things I learned as a Canadian Expat

I decided to start this new section on my blog called the Expat Life. I have been an expat for almost 8 months now and feel that I have enough experiences under my belt to make it worth to share. I was hesitant to start this at first because I wanted to make my blog to focus primarily on my travels but I realised that my life as a Canadian Expat is actually quite important when it comes to my longings to travel and my attitudes towards travelling. Heck, I am doing so much travelling because I have made the decision to live abroad and with the opportunities to travel more!  Also, when I am not travelling it would be nice that I can still provide content that will hopefully be helpful or of enjoyment to others!


Here’s the last picture I took of Vancouver before London which is a beautiful reminder of the place I will always call home.

To start off *drum roll* here are the 10 things I learned as a Canadian Expat (Do note that these are my own personal experiences!)


1. Being mistaken as an American.
Yes, I come from a land far away where the cold, an attractive Prime Minister, and being extremely polite is what my country is known for. However, that’s about it…my “Canadian” accent which is pretty much an American accent results in many asking if I am American. As a supply teacher, it is always funny to immediately get kids asking “Are you American?”

2. Pronouncing words differently
As a teacher it is quite funny how many times I automatically say things in what is considered my terrible British accent or else I wouldn’t be understood. One incident that sticks out to me was when my class at that time was practising spelling out words on a white board and I had to verbally pronounce the word before they write it down. Needless to say, my pronounciation of “called” which sounds like “cold” caused a lot of confusion. Then this lead to the next one…

3. Usage of different word terms
“When is garbage/trash day?” was unrecognisable when I asked my new housemates and I later learned that the garbage/trash can is just called the bin. Now this is probably one of my least favourite experiences  because there are so many other usages of bins and the word bin just seems to be too much of a general term for other items to me! I also can’t forget that time I tried ordering a Chicken McNuggets Combo from McDonalds…apparently Combo’s aren’t a thing here so, Chicken McNuggets Meal it is!

4. What is multiculturalism?
I grew up with the idea of Canada being a melting pot and I still believe it is. I knew that London is one of the busiest cities in the world known for it’s business district, centrality for travelling, and famous landmarks. Thus expats and immigrants would pick London as its ideal place to settle. However, I soon realised the concept of multiculturalism is a bit disappointing to me than to what I see in Canada, well atleast Vancouver, Canada (home). Yes, you do see people of different colour, ethnicity, religion, etc…but I felt that London had pockets of people of different demographic (areas where a certain demographic was known to live- recognised by education, housing affordability, opportunities, etc) and there wasn’t as great of an integration as I had hoped for.

5. Learning the boroughs, regions, councils
Yeah, this is something I still don’t get. Apparently I live in Wimbledon, under the Merton Council, in SouthWest London. Why are there so many terms put into place to identify where I live? Please enlighten me haha…

6. The use of plastic and throw away the concept “eco-friendly”
Coming from Vancouver, the lifestyle of living green has always been one taught at an early age. In the past few years, we even switched to separating our recyclables to paper/magazines/newspapers, plastics, jars, and compostable food waste. I have always been someone who loves separating my materials, but this doesn’t happen in London…especially in a city where literally everything in the supermarkets are wrapped in plastic first. The amount of waste is mindboggling. I feel like I have definitely become more unaware of my actions when it comes to protecting our Earth, but hopefully changes will be made soon…

7. Cold is unlike any other cold
I come from Raincouver yet the crazy weather of London I have seen so far is extreme compared to Vancouver. During the days it can be quite warm but then dropping to low levels in the evening. Weather network claims it is 10 degrees but really with the wind chills it feels like minus 1.

8. Transportation everywhere
This is one of those cities where driving is not necessary especially if visiting or even living here for that matter. All the famous landmarks can be of walking distance in Central London or easily accessible with the underground, national rail, or by bus. I absolutely love how wherever I want to go, there is a mode of transporation, there is a way. The benefits of a extensive transporation line (thought not always reliable) is a blessing.

9. Liveliness and the Tourist Experience
Here I thought Vancouver was a tourist city, wait until you make it to London. I sometimes wonder as I am walking in London whether most of the people are in fact tourists not locals. I mean I don’t even consider myself a Londoner, but when can I really give myself that title anyways? School groups, foreign languages spoken everywhere, people holding maps is not an unfamiliar sight. The streets are always busy it almost seems like the whole Central London is there “downtown”, always bustling with people and events happening. It is also a city of expats…I was surprised to know of so many Australian Expats that choose to live in London temporarily too!


Tourist photo in Westminster

10. Nature Loving
This title might be a bit deceiving but one of the things I missed the most as I am living in London is the close proximity to oceans, mountains at home. The closest hikes are several hours away if not, it would be considered a gentle stroll, hill walking through rolling hills in Surrey. You can find a lot of neighbourhood parks, Royal Parks in London. Don’t get me wrong, they provide the nature that Londoners don’t get much of but sometimes I just want to say, “Do you know what you are missing out on?!” These parks are also quite manicured where you can tell they are taken care of and sometimes I just miss the natural environment where mother nature has made its own changes, not some city worker. These parks become crowded when a glimpse of sun comes out, with families having picnics, teenagers hanging in groups, and the runners and dogwalkers making an appearance. However, I personally love seeing the amount of people who just spend hours hanging out at hte park sitting on the grass and just enjoying nature. As much as Vancouver has so many green spaces, this isn’t something you see.


View from Primrose Hill


Richmond Park, one of my favourite places to truly experience life away from the city


Deers at Richmond Park



25 thoughts on “The 10 things I learned as a Canadian Expat

  1. Angie says:

    During my time in London previously, I can relate to everything you’re saying except for number 1 as I am American. I enjoyed visiting London better than living there. Coming from Seattle, where the city is smaller and surrounded by ocean and greenery, it’s hard to beat. And Vancouver is nice, too. I always enjoy going to Vancouver.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. kylieuk says:

    ๐Ÿ˜ฎ you think British weather is cold?! That’s really surprising to hear! I always felt that British temperatures were very ‘level’ they seem to be a constant. Now I’m in America where temperatures can be 12c but feels like -32c…now that’s cold! I’d do anything to have British weather back!

    Liked by 2 people

    • sharonceestheworld says:

      To be fair you are living in Iowa where temperatures can be more extreme! On the West Coast in Canada temperatures are more moderate and unlike the rest of Canada I feel.I am happy with the sunshine London is currently having though haha!


      • kylieuk says:

        Oh I see! I visited Vancouver and whistler a few summers back and it was 20c nearly every day so that’s my only experience of Canadian weather!


  3. carolineontheglobe says:

    Number 7 ! When I first came to London I didn`t know that actually 10*C is not that much at all. It really feels like -1*C. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lani says:

    I have really enjoyed learning “British-isms” since my time abroad. I find myself intergrating their vocabulary (especially since I have to teach it) into my everyday speech, as well, as my writing.
    For me though, teaching and living abroad has really broaden my views and has given me so much by way of friendships from around the world. So, it’s nice to read about someone else’s experiences! I, too, would have thought that London would have been much more intergrated. One day, I hope to see it all myself!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jean says:

    Enjoy London.
    I miss Vancouver but will be back ..from Calgary for some stays. Gotta visit my bikes, books, etc.
    No I haven’t lived anywhere else but Canada. Right now, at this point in my life I’m not that interested. (I grew up in Ontario.)

    Liked by 2 people

  6. canadianforeigner says:

    Loved the post – I’m also a Canadian expat, and there are always new things I’m finding out! I’ve been living in Istanbul for two years and other places before, and it’s always great to meet and hear about other Canadians making a go of it around the world! Keep writing! Cheers !

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rooftopwriters says:

    So awesome to find fellow Canadian expats in London. I still can’t get over how amazing TfL is. Drop me anywhere in London and I can find five different ways to get home. And I couldn’t agree with you more in terms of Burroughs. Living at the corner of Shepards Bush and Acton but I live in Hammersmith and Fulham?

    Liked by 2 people

    • sharonceestheworld says:

      Hi! I first moved over here with a helping of a teaching agency where accommodation was also included so it wasn’t too hard for me. Where are you moving to in Canada? I am heading home in a bit over a week and I miss Canada so much haha!


      • Sarah says:

        Oh nice! So are you in London permanently or just for a few years?
        I’m moving to Vancouver but am worrying about finding a place to live! I haven’t got any plans so far haha. It’s still awhile away yet but I hear it’s hard to find somewhere to live

        Liked by 1 person

      • sharonceestheworld says:

        I am on a 2 year visa but I haven’t decided what will happen after my visa ends yet! Oh I am from Vancouver and you will love it there but yeah it is quite expensive and isn’t common to flatshare there but good luck!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Brit Girl In BC says:

    Hey, thank you for your lovely post here, and thank you so much for following my blog! I completely see where your coming from with your blog post. I come from a more rural part of the UK called Norfolk, I live in Norwich at the moment but lived in London for 4 years in my early 20’s (I’m now 26).
    From what I know of Vancouver where I’m heading, its must cleaner and more spacious than London. I often found London rather claustrophobic and hard to find space. You’re lucky to be in Wimbledon, its got a much ‘nicer’ feel than other areas of South London despite living in London for a majority of my time there.
    I’d recommend Burgess park if you’re looking for a less touristy park to relax in. It’s lovely in Summer, has bbq’s you can use, and a nice lake to enjoy.
    For food, try Exmouth market for a day of food and drinks in Angel, that’s lovely there.
    Greenwich is great as well, there’s lovely food there in the market which is well worth a look and go to the Royal Observatory of a fantastic view of Canary Wharf. It’s quiet up there, and good for a bit of much needed head space.
    Please please contact me if I can help you in any way with any questions you may have on living in London, or places to go for a bit of rest bite. xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • sharonceestheworld says:

      Hi! That’s amazing, I am actually 24 years old right now and I still see London as a place to be in my early 20s so I probably won’t be here for too long! I do love Wimbledon and I am teaching in the Wimbledon area as well, as it is quite a family friendly neighborhood! Thanks again for the recommendations…I have been to Greenwich park a couple times but not to Exmouth Market or Burgess park which I will definitely check out. Let me know if you need any help/recommendations with Vancouver, I am actually heading back next week until August 8th!Do take advantage of the close proximity to hiking, the ocean, and mountains when in Vancouver! xx


  9. simplykailin says:

    Although I haven’t been to London, I can still relate to a lot of things you mentioned! I am also from Vancouver and just started a blog of my own, I would love to get some advice from you. Thanks, and have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

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