Greetings

UBC student Sarah of Malta hugs Ziaul of India Photo: Les Bazso, The Vancouver Sun

UBC student Sarah of Malta hugs Ziaul of India
Photo: Les Bazso, The Vancouver Sun

Adapted from The Vancouver Sun

Level 3
January 2011

Sarah Meli of Malta, Ziaul Hasan of India, and Zelius Kleefstra of South Africa
came to Vancouver to study.
All three UBC (University of British Columbia) students
spoke about their experiences in Canada.

Read the PDF. Try the Exercise.

Hugging
Sarah says hugging is a big part of Maltese culture.
She says Canadians don’t hug or kiss when they meet.
So, she does not know if her new friends like her.
Canadians might only hug very good friends.

Touching
Ziaul says in India there are one billion people, so each person has less space.
Some Canadian women think he is flirting when he sits or stands close to them.
Canadians like to have more space around them.

Shaking hands
Zelius says in South Africa he shakes hands whenever he meets his friends.
South Africans believe shaking hands is a sign of respect.
Canadians might only shake hands the first time they meet.

Greeting in different cultures:

A “bow” in Japanese culture Photo: iStockphoto

A “bow” in Japanese culture
Photo: iStockphoto

A “wai” in Thai culture Photo: public domain

A “wai” in Thai culture
Photo: public domain

A “hongi” in Maori culture Photo: public domain

A “hongi” in Maori culture
Photo: public domain

A “fist bump” in sports culture Photo: iStockphoto

A “fist bump” in sports culture
Photo: iStockphoto

5 thoughts on “Greetings

  1. How amazing!Different people have different experience when they are here in Canada.
    It reminded me when I was here for the first days. How dificult it was,and how strange others looked at me!
    I was so embaressed and shocked.But now I look at it in different way:It is a muticultural society ,so it is not bad if we accept and respect others while they do not hurt us.

    • Well said, Azin!
      Thank you for sharing your first days with us.
      How did you greet people when you arrived?

      • I remember when I wanted to kiss one of my friend’s cheek to greet her, she did not like it and told me it is not good here to kiss the same sex!!!
        Another time I felt so silly when I hugged and kissed my new friend’s kids to show my feelings( it is so normal in my culture),and I found out that she did not like it at all.You can not believe how embarrassed I was by her attitude. Later on I learned people here are so sensitive about their kids and they do not like somebody touch their kids. The first memories are not always good,specially from middle east to The North america,oh my Gosh!

  2. Hi Yumi,
    How very interesting! I am going to Japan this summer ….
    I plan on staying there for at least a year. I will have to adjust to the new culture. I was there 20 years ago … and I don’t remember hugging….

    Not many Canadians were hugging back then either. Hugging is a fairly recent ‘greeting style’ in Canada …

    Let’s see what happens over the course of the next few decades in Japan.

    All the best!

  3. Thank you for sharing a very interesting article! I’m from Japan, and I remember I couldn’t get used to the hugging culture for a while after I arrived in Canada. First time when my friend hugged me, I even stepped back! Now, I think hugging is a great way to show affection to your good friends, though we still don’t hug friends in Japan.

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