10 Strange Things I’ve Noticed Studying in Canada as an American


I started going to The University of Victoria in January. Coming from a town just north of Seattle, Washington things were pretty different. Although America and Canada are very similar, I have noticed a few differences. Some I was expecting (like the metric system), and some I wasn’t. So here is a list of ten things I have noticed while studying in Canada. Please keep in mind that I have only ever been to BC.


1. How much people actually say “Eh”

I always thought it was just a stereotype or one of those things that Canadians said in TV shows. But no—even my professors say it! Not that I’m mad about it or anything. It’s actually pretty cute.


2. Different words for the same thing

It’s a grade, not a mark, a bathroom, not a washroom, and you are taking a test, not writing a test!


3. The coffee

The first time I had coffee in Canada, I was shook. In general, American mochas are a lot sweeter than the ones here. I’m used to the difference and actually prefer the Canadian mocha, but—coming from the coffee capital of America (Washington State)—I took this very seriously.



4. How much American politics is brought up

No, I do not want to talk about Trump with you—I was kinda hoping I could escape the madness a little here. And honestly, having him brought up in every damn class is kinda like having your very embarrassing uncle you hate being discussed by people not in the family. I mean I understood the rest of the world is watching but it can be kinda uncomfortable.


5. The lack of Target

Where is the Target? Why was it allowed to fail here? How am I supposed to waste an afternoon?


6. The spelling

I get it: you wanna spell all fancy like England, but I can’t get used to colour or centre being okay things.



7. All the French

See, where I’m from it’s always English and Spanish on labels and such, so seeing French on everything is fun and different.


8. The grading scale

Oh, the Canadian grading scale is the most beautiful thing to ever happen (at least in my experience at UVic). After years of schooling during which only 90 percent and up is an A, it’s so nice. I think other countries have similar scales, so thanks for that, America.


9. How nice people are in public

Now, I can only speak from my own experiences, but from what I’ve noticed people here have more manners in public, such as saying thank you to bus drivers and not cutting in line.



10. The accent

It’s really strong in words like “sorry” and “about” but honestly, it’s great. As an American who doesn’t have a cool east coast or southern accent, I appreciate a cool-sounding dialect.


Overall the experience in Canada so far has been great. I really love my university and I am happy I came here. My allegiance will always be to Washington forever, obviously, but I love being here and it is fun to live somewhere else for a while. It gives you a new perspective, and an adventure!