Bringing a bit of Canadian Culture to India

Author: Alanna Vachon

As part of the Post-Baccalaureate Education program at VIU, I had the opportunity to complete one of my teaching practicums abroad. I chose to do a practicum in India, without thinking too much about what would be waiting for me on the other side. However, I quickly learnt just how different the same profession can be in other countries, as well as the importance of adaptability and flexibility in the teaching profession. My experience in India was one of growth, transformation and serious learning and I was thankful to have completed this alongside two friends, Kaily and Kristina, that joined me on the trip.

One of my favourite experiences while in India was a presentation that the Kaily, Kristina, and I gave to the entire school we had been teaching at. The students were constantly curious about our lives in Canada and therefore, at the end of our practicum, we were given an hour in the auditorium to tell them about our home country and teach them a bit about Canadian culture. Our presentation covered a variety of topics including Canadian cuisines, such as poutine and maple syrup, Canadian money (loonies and toonies), famous Canadians such as Justin Bieber and Justin Trudeau, Canadian weather (much colder than India), as well as Canadian sports such as ice hockey and surfing. We started by showing them a video of Canada that was taken from an aerial point of view and showed off the diverse landscapes of our country.  The kids were truly mesmerized and it was magical to see how they gasped in awe while watching the Aurora Borealis on screen. I felt goosebumps simply from seeing how amazed the children were at that moment. Not only were the children in awe of the strikingly beautiful Canadian landscapes, but they wanted to learn more about everything to do with our country. Questions that came up ranged from “who’s the richest person in Canada?” to “what is a Canadian food staple item that is comparable to naan?”. They also wanted to know what our favourite Indian food had been and whether or not we liked India more than Canada.

Altogether, it was one of the best experiences of my time in India and I felt truly lucky to have the opportunity to teach an entire school about my home country and culture. I had learnt much about theirs while living there and loved embracing the Indian food, language and culture. It was wonderful to have been able to give them a little taste of our own culture in return. It is easy to forget how amazing your own country may be, especially when travelling to new and exciting places. However, this experience reminded me to embrace my own culture and to be excited to share it with those I meet while travelling. I am always excited to learn about the cultures in which I am travelling, and have found that people feel the same way in return, even if they’re not the ones travelling at the time.  

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