Community connections

Adapting to a new culture and country

Moving to a new country may be hard for some people. It is common to feel the following emotions when you first arrive in Canada:

  • Discomfort
  • Helplessness
  • Frustration
  • Fear
  • Insecurity
  • Uncertainty about how to behave
  • A sense that your cultural beliefs and values are being challenged
  • A sense that things are not predictable

Your first months in Canada will be full of change. You will face many challenges, especially if you have to learn English or French, or improve your language skills. You may have to take a first job or live in a home that is different from what you expected. You may need to get more education or training to get a job and build your new life here. This can create some stress in your life.

Connecting with others

Connecting with others in your new community is an important step in the settlement process. Making new friends and contacts will help you feel at home in Canada. It may also help you advance your professional goals by creating a network of people that can support you in your search for work. Here are some ways you can connect with people:

Immigrant-serving organizations

Immigrant-serving organizations (ISOs) are a great place to meet others as they offer a variety of programs and social activities you can take part in. Many also offer mentoring programs, which will match you up with another immigrant or Canadian to help you settle.


Volunteering your time is an excellent way to:

  • meet people
  • contribute to your community
  • gain Canadian work experience

You can volunteer in many places, including:

  • community centres
  • schools
  • charitable organizations
  • hospitals and retirement homes
  • ISOs

To find more information about volunteering, visit the Volunteer Canada website or ask an ISO for advice.

Community centres

Joining activities and programs at your local community centre is also a good way of meeting new people who share your interests. Most neighbourhoods have community centres that offer many activities and programs in the areas of:

  • health, fitness and recreation
  • child care
  • education
  • leisure
  • many other areas

For a list of community centres, search online or consult your municipal (city) government website.

Sports teams and sports centres

Playing sports is another good way to meet new people of all ages. In most cities and towns, there are organized leagues for all major sports at different skill and age levels. There are also sports centres where you can:

  • enjoy fitness classes
  • swim
  • work out at the gym
  • do many other sports-related activities

Joining associations or social clubs

There are many opportunities for people with common interests to gather. Examples include joining:

  • neighbourhood groups
  • ethnocultural clubs
  • book clubs
  • game clubs
  • music, arts or dance clubs

You can find out about associations and clubs in your area by searching online or the local newspaper, by calling or visiting your local community centre or City Hall.

Your neighbourhood

Perhaps simplest of all is meeting new people in your neighbourhood. Introduce yourself to your neighbours and tell them that you are new to the country. If you have children, you can also meet other parents at the local playground.

Getting involved in your child’s school

In Canada, schools encourage parents to support their child’s education by getting involved with the school and school board. Getting involved can help your child succeed and provide an excellent opportunity to become part of a school community.

Places of worship

In addition to the private practice of religion, Canadians show their religious faith in public life and in their daily activities. They also gather in:

  • churches
  • synagogues
  • mosques
  • temples
  • other places of worship


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