Adjusting to life as a Canadian Abroad

2 minute read

Moving abroad, eh? You are not alone, today there are nearly three million Canadians living internationally.

Whether you are planning a move or already living overseas, there are plenty of differences to get used to.

TransferWise got together a bunch of our team members and customers to provide their biggest surprises when they decided to leave Canada:


You'd probably heard tales of roundabouts before you arrived. If you've spent time in Quebec, you've probably experienced some.

They're like junctions. But circular. And confusing.

Europeans in particular love a roundabout. They have them everywhere. They even put roundabouts inside roundabouts.

Check out the video above. Ridiculous.

Drinking. In public.

In most areas of Canada drinking in public = hefty fine. In Europe? Go for it.

It'll seem terrifying at first. But before you know it you'll be cracking open the beers in the park, at BBQs on the beach - even walking to the beach.

Yep - going to the park for a picnic just got a whole load more fun. Pimms, anyone?

Sorry, eh?

Yes, Canadians are famous for saying “Sorry”.

The Brits are probably the only ones that come close.

In many countries, you will experience the opposite. From queue jumping to bumping into you.

Don’t blame the locals though, in many countries this is purely the norm.

Where are the milk bags?


Your milk now comes in jugs.

While it is something that you will have to get used to, it’s also something that most welcome with open arms. Jugs and cartons are just way easier to carry and pour, easier to store in your fridge and they come in various sizes. Just don’t try to wrap your head into just how much a gallon or half of gallon of milk is.

Long gone are the days that you accidentally cut off too much from the tip of the bag.

Finding space

canada scenes

Canadians love space, and why not when there's so much of it.

A typical journey from town to town could be a couple of hours. Sadly, not all other countries have that luxury.

While travel times might be quicker, you might find yourself longing for the great outdoors. Never fear - Europe has some beautiful wilderness. Scotland, Scandinavia and Northern Spain are all incredible.

Don't get ripped off sending money home

You've bagged a great job abroad, but you still have bills or a mortgage to pay in Canada.

Using the banks or PayPal to send money can cost you up to 5%. That's expensive.

Sending or receiving money from abroad? TransferWise is the fast, fair new way - this is how it works:

Download the App for iOS & Android

TransferWise is the smart, new way to send money abroad.

Find out more
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