Looking at Canada From the Outside In

The best aspect of reverse culture shock is figuring out what you were taking for granted.

Having returned from my internship in Hong Kong over two months ago now, the memories of Asia still remain fresh and continue to astound me everyday. Coming from one home to another has allowed me to appreciate many of things I had taken for granted.


Something that Hong Kong lacks and that we have no shortage of in Canada is space; wide open spaces. Have you ever stopped to look around and take in all of the empty space around you, all of the fields, parks and gardens? What about all of the sidewalk space, walking freely with no disruptions to your personal bubble? We are also fortunate in the fact that this space isn’t limited to the outdoors. Moreover, because of all the space we have, most of us have had the opportunity of knowing what it’s like to live in a home and not just an apartment. I was never able to appreciate all the space we lived in until I knew what it was like to live with less of it. So that bedroom you always believed to be so small has really never looked so big.


The most common colors known to Canadians must be blue and green. Blue for the skies overhead we are able to enjoy and green for all the trees and plants surrounding us on the ground. I had grown used to the sight of grey concrete and grey skies. While Hong Kong has colors that are unique to itself and it does have beautiful landscapes, but they are not so easy to come by as they are in Canada. It can really be an underrated luxury to walk outside your home and to see green grass at your feet and to look up and see clear skies.


The thing I’ve appreciated the most about coming home is the people. There is something very unique about Canadians the world over, maybe it’s because we are known for being overly polite, but I’ve never been happier to be able to appreciate the mosaic that is the Canadian culture and landscape.

This is not to say that these things didn’t exist before I left and that there aren’t things I miss about Hong Kong life everyday, but the experience has helped open my eyes to appreciate the world around me.

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Monica Hrubcin

Monica Hrubcin is an international business graduate from Carleton University. She is currently on an AIESEC internship working as a Teaching and Projects Assistant at a university. Not a stranger to travel, she is pushing her boundaries further and remains eager to explore new lands.

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