With The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) revealing that Australia has topped the index of national wellbeing for the happiest countries in the world and the best places to live and work, followed closely by Sweden and Canada, and the latest Global Visas report highlighting Canada (27 per cent) and Australia (22 per cent) as the top two destinations people wish to move to, the demand for cultural information is on the increase.
When immigrating to a new country, it is helpful to become clued up on the local lingo, laws and cultural aspects of the country to which you are destined to feel at home more quickly. For example, a very common mistake made by foreigners to Australia is being invited over for dinner and being asked to ‘bring a plate’ which doesn’t mean digging out your best Royal Doulton dinnerware but bringing a dish of food to share with your host and other guests. Or in Canada you could be fined $400 for simply crossing the road, as jaywalking, (crossing the road without using a pedestrian crossing) is tightly regulated and leads to on-the-spot fines.
Out of a total of 257,398 requests for immigration solutions (excluding tourist visas) in Q1 of 2013, Global Visas, a UK business that provides people worldwide with international visa, relocation and immigration services, found that a growing number of people were asking for country-specific information. As a result, it is launching a series of ‘Global Visas Destination Guides’, launching with Canada, on everything clients need to know about moving to the country including visas and permits, working, budgeting, housing, studying, healthcare and laws.
Gary Smith, global sales and marketing director at Global Visas, says, “There is a lot you need to know and be prepared for before emigrating to another country, and familiarising yourself with common phrases will certainly steer you away from embarrassing conversations or offending locals. However, first priorities will include setting up home and settling into a new job in your unfamiliar surroundings. Our new handy destination guides help prepare clients for the change in lifestyle, allocating your budget, understanding work arrangements and getting to know the country a little more. It is very important to be clued up on the laws and culture of your new home to ensure you know exactly what to expect.”
Victoria Blackman, a New Zealander who immigrated to the UK, comments: “When I first arrived I found it difficult as an English speaking foreigner to understand the British language. I couldn’t get my head around why people kept asking me if I was alright (‘you alright?’) I didn’t know how to reply. Was this a question? Did they think I looked sick? To my surprise they were saying ‘hello, how are you?’. I also found myself in embarrassing and awkward situations when I commented on people’s pants which are not underwear where I come from! I’m still learning daily and recently was informed that an ‘ice lolly’ is what I refer to as an ‘ice block’ or an ‘ice cream’ on a stick.”