I’m a Canadian expat living in Madrid, Spain. Yes, I left Canada to live in Spain, but don’t get me wrong, I’m fond of Canada. Who doesn’t enjoy the benefits of free health care? Spain has it too, though. Canada has great people, and so does Spain. Are you catching onto my point? If not – both countries are cool. Despite the similarities, they are different countries, and within that umbrella comes an array of different cultures. Sometimes the differences in the Spanish culture shine through like the sun, positively speaking, and other times it makes me ask myself if I belong here. I’m not a newcomer, so I have learned some things here and there, but there’s always room to learn more! It’s like a journey. The question of integration always pops up; it never seizes to prove its importance.

Are you an expat and have faced interesting experiences dealing with the culture of your second home? Share them please!

Signing off –

Shamim Sobhani




19 thoughts on “From Canada to Europe. Reflections of an expat

  1. I am also Canadian and lived for 14 years in England. I loved it there and learned to change my pronunciation of words like yogurt , controversy and aluminum. When I came back to Canada I had to change my accent back again..

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello! Another Canadian living in Spain, specifically Lebanese Canadian whose family lives in Halifax and Lebanon as well.
    I find similarities between my Lebanese culture and the Spanish culture, and that part I love. I always see some sort of parallel, after all, for many years Arabic as a language and culture had influenced Spain.
    I also see differences between the Canadian and Spanish cultures. Spanish people have a different rhythm of life in terms of going out and having drinks for example. Where my Spanish partner is from, when out, everyone scrambles to pay the bill, instead of each person paying their part as in Canada. I find that that is one of the bigger differences. It’s not negative nor positive, it’s a cultural difference and even varies among regions within Spain, but Ojo, don’t pay for your drink and only your drink, it looks bad! Usually when we go out with friends, we’re a mixture of various cultures and we each put some money in a “bote” and pay from there for example. There’s always the linguistic difference, feeling overwhelmed by Spanish, not knowing how to communicate a point or say something, but part of survival in another country is learning to say what I need to say in a different way, and somehow, I always manage it.
    I’ve learnt to appreciate all three of these cultures and have adopted things from each one. I’ve been in Spain four years now and love it. Having lived in Canada, Lebanon and Spain, I’ve felt that I’m not particularly just Canadian, nor just Lebanese, so Spain is a good balance between both countries and cultures for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nicole, thanks for taking the time to stop by and respond! I think it´s admirable when it´s customary for everyone to scramble for the bill. I don´t see that with Canadians too often. It shows that there´s a certain level of trust and great comfort between friends (not that there isn´t trust between friends who don´t do that). As a third culture child, like you, I feel like I´m balancing the three cultures sometimes, and it can get overwhelming. My parents are Iranian and I grew up in Canada. On top of that, I was born in Sri Lanka, but we escaped a broiling civil war and fled for Canada when I was a toddler. It´s definitely anything but boring living in Spain!


  3. Enjoy journy always.i have not go abroad of India but in India’s defferent states are different from each other.here i have felt like u those controversial cultural things bt really most funny.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As a sometime expat or maybe a very slow traveler, having lived in England and Panama, I am feeling the urge to go as I have been back in the U.S. almost two years. Now the question is where. I don’t think Europe is very affordable but is my first choice otherwise. I spent a few months in south of Spain about 27 years ago and think Sevilla has a lot to offer, or did anyway. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, though I admit I have a liking for the Netherlands too. I’ll make a decision later this year as I am thinking of moving in early 2018. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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