Janhavi Kishor Kulkarni, The Circle

I grew up in Vadodara, Gujarat, India. Vadodara is also known as a Banyan City as there were many banyan tresses there in the city. It is the cultural capital of Gujarat. My town is a very peaceful place to live in. Their many tourist attractions are there in my city, for instance, Laxmi Vilas Palace, Sayaji Garden, Maharaja Sayajirao University… I am proud to be a student of Maharaja Sayajirao University, as I have completed my bachelor’s from there. Where I grew up, that is a diverse town so I used to stay with different people. And from the beginning, I like to make new friends from different cultures and religions.

Basically, I belong to a Maharashtrian Brahmin family. In India, Brahmins are known for their culture and strict rules and regulations. According to Indian culture, Brahmins are the most respectful and upper cast people. I belong to the state Maharashtra, my parents and ancestors used to live there. My grandfather was a senior Inspector in Indian railways and had a transferable job so first, he had moved to the Vadodara, Gujarat. And he found this town calm and peaceful so at that time he has decided to move there. So my born and brought up have done there only. I belong to well educated and cultural background. We are four members in the family. My father is a businessman, my mother is a yoga trainer, my sister is an engineer and me- who is still working on herself to become a successful as well as a satisfactory person in life.

I found myself as the luckiest person as I have got the best family. As I mentioned earlier I belong to a Brahmin family who is very religious people with so many rules and regulations. But my father is an upgraded Brahmin. I know it sounds funny, but yes he is. As he never stopped me from going out, making different culture and religion friends, exploring things, talking with strangers, and many more. He always gives me freedom. I am an extrovert person so from childhood I make many different religious friends. Till the 12th grade I used to study with Muslim students, a school where I was studying had a majority of Muslims. And I enjoyed my school life a lot and I found it one of the best phases of my life. At that time I used to celebrate a holy festival of Muslims known as Ramadaan. I used to go to my friend’s place a whole month at a time of Iftaari so that I can eat delicious food. And according to me till now I have found this religion one of the best religions in the world.

Moving forward, after completing schooling I have got admission to the University, where I have met so many different people like Hindu, Christians, Bengali, Sikh, etc. At a university our group was known as a multicultural group as we all belonged to the different cultures and religions. It was fun for me to have friends like them. Because not everybody got this chance to have multicultural friends. If we live with this kind of person we learn many things, gain knowledge, upgrade ourselves, and can see how big and different the world is.

From the beginning, I love to travel, explore things, and meet new people. When I have decided to come to Canada the thing which motivates me the most was “excitement”. I know it may be sound weird, but yes I was very much excited because I was the first time going out of my country for my further studies. Of course, I was sad because I was going very far from my family, friends and my home country. I was also tensed because I knew that there is nobody who will take care of me like my parents. I knew that I have to work there along with my studies, I have to do the adjustment with finances and with many more things. But I was mentally prepared for that however my excitement beats my fear and tension. I was happy because where I had decided to go to that country is renowned for its beauty and multicultural society. So, this thing was the icing on the cake for me.

Beginning with the Canadian multicultural environment, it has a great impact on my personal life and growth. The most important thing I have learned from Canadian diversity is how to behave, on what kind of topic to discuss, and how to react to the situations. Like back in India people used to discuss topics like politics, religion, cast etc. And what I have noticed that Canadians don’t like to discuss topics like this, if somebody talks something and they don’t get agree they ignore the topic or else they cleary ask to stop a topic. They believe this kind of topic leads to the conflict. And I agree with it. By noticing them and talking with them I also have learned to maintain distance with everybody. Not get personally attached every time. As I am an emotionally natured person I easily get attached to everybody and sometimes it hurts myself only. So distance and a priority are the main things which I have learned and imply in my life.

I also feel happy to get admitted in Conestoga college, because the atmosphere and staff are so good and familiar. I would like to thank my professor, Dr. Engin Sezen to guide us so well regarding multicultural society. Which helps a lot in our personal life. The best thing I have learned from him is talking about every religion and culture, learn about it, respect it, imply things which you have learn, but always remember one thing is that never forget what you are, where are you come from and what culture and religion you belong to. And I found this is the best thing I have learned regarding multiculturalism till now.

I arrived in Canada in December 2019, and from then on I knew that it was the best decision I had made since Canada is ranked No. 1 country in the world for quality of life. From the moment you arrive in Canada, you’re going to be a little nervous about your things, but you don’t need to worry because people here in Canada are generous and accepting. They’re here to help you with all your needs. Canadians are some of the nicest people I have met, they are very polite, sometimes too polite. As I came from a very diverse country I have the value and ethics of respecting my elders. The first thing which I have noticed when I came to Canada is children over here call their parents or elders by their name but in my country, it is disrespectful to call our parents or elders by their name. Canada is full of people of a different religion.

You can see people from various religious backgrounds in Canada like Asians, African people from Middle Eastern countries, etc. The work culture in Canada is very different than India Every job is respected and pays enough to lead a good life so even if you lose your job and need to do odd jobs, you will be respected and will earn enough to survive. because in Canada you get a good amount of money for your work but in my country, the money which we get for the same type of work is very low. Another thing which I have seen in Canadian culture is usually money is not considered to be of vital importance for Canadian people. I come from a business-oriented family for me focusing on money is more important to have everything in life. Although it seems that Canadians are overwhelmingly in support of multiculturalism, views towards religious differences are more complex. According to a survey done by a poll commissioned by the Angus Reid Institute in 2017, when asked whether religious diversity in Canada was positive or poor to the public, 26 percent of Canadians said it was a good thing, 23 percent said it was a bad thing, and the majority of the respondents said it was a bad thing. And remaining people said they were unsure about this (Brosseau, 2018).

Overall what I have seen here in Canada we can see people from a various religious background and even they support and help each other without any religious discrimination. most numbers of Canadians believe in god (Religion in Canada, 2020). You can easily feel comfortable in Canadian culture as it is unique and supportive.