Canada has long been hailed as a cultural mosaic, home to people with a wide variety of diverse backgrounds. This Canada Multiculturalism Day, it’s important to recognize some of the ways we all benefit from multiculturalism on a daily basis:
Multiculturalism makes us more creative
Opening ourselves up to aspects of other cultures—whether it’s a different cuisine, a traditional music or art form, or a cultural celebration—teaches us that there are so many different ways of looking at life. This can help us come up with different ways of solving problems and doing things that we might now have considered within the constraints of our own personal bubble and ways of looking at daily life.
Multiculturalism helps us create strong bonds
We don’t necessarily need to have anything in common to bond with another person: in fact, a great way to get to know someone from a completely different culture is by learning about their own cultural experiences. Have you ever eaten a meal cooked by someone from a different culture and seen their eyes light up when asked about the story behind a particular recipe? Whether the story was heartwarming and nostalgic or one of hardship, chances are that they were passionate to share it with you, and that this paved the way for further conversation and connection.
Multiculturalism teaches us more about ourselves
If all we see around us every day of our lives is people with the same values, beliefs, customs, and traditions as us, we are less likely to self-reflect and question them. Exposure to other cultures on a regular basis can be really eye-opening, and not just in terms of learning all about how others live their lives. The more we see different cultures living alongside each other, the more we are able to reflect on our position within the greater context of humanity. This can help us evolve our own beliefs and ideas in order to achieve a more fulfilling life.
How FSGV’s Parents Connect Program helps new parents thrive in a multicultural setting
Despite the benefits associated with multiculturalism, nobody can deny the difficulties that newcomers can experience when moving to a new country. Starting fresh can leave families vulnerable to a host of issues, such as social isolation, the struggles of learning a new language, and dealing with the financial impact of a cross-nation move. On top of this, caring for young children can make it even more difficult to adjust to life in a new county.
In response to this, FSGV’s Parents Connect program aims to assist newcomers with young children with their transition. Bilquis Hirani, a program facilitator, says, “In our group, I see Canada’s multiculturalism policy and the ideal of pluralism come alive. Diversity is not ‘tolerated’, it is embraced.”
The program provides a space for parents of young children, many of whom are newly immigrated to Canada, to take a break and relax while connecting with other parents and participating in guided discussions. It offers a strong support network for its participants, who support one another across all areas, from learning English, to employment, to parenting, to other life challenges. While the parents converse, their children play, leaving the struggle of finding childcare out of the equation.
“Our Parents Connect group consists of 16 women who come from literally all over the world, ranging from the Middle East, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. All these women are Canadian and they come from diverse cultural, social and economic backgrounds,” says Bilquis.
At Parents Connect, not only do parents get a much-needed break, but they also get to reap the benefits of socializing with other parents in a multicultural setting.
Find upcoming Parents Connect sessions on our community events calendar.