Cold winters, warm welcomes: How newcomers can settle in Canada

Published on May 11th, 2021 at 05:00am EDT

It’s well known that immersing yourself into the local community and culture is a great way to become fluent in a country’s language.

So, it also makes sense that the more welcoming the destination, the sooner you’ll master the language. That’s why Canada, with its immigration-friendly policies and people, is such a wonderful place to build your new life and English skills side by side.

Explore your neighbourhood

The winters may be cold, but a warm welcome awaits you in Canada, which is well-known for its polite citizens and a welcoming attitude to new arrivals. So, don’t be afraid to start a conversation. Meet your neighbours, chat to the staff in local shops and cafes, and if you have kids, bond with other parents at the school gates. Plenty of chances to practice your English and a great way to get insider tips on your new area.


Volunteering is a great way to meet people and integrate into your new community, and it offers a relaxed, informal environment to try out your speaking skills. There are organizations that always need a hand and there are lots of different ways to offer your support, from helping with fundraising to administrative tasks. To find available opportunities, the Volunteer Canada website is a good place to start.

Take an evening class

Another good way to meet people while having some fun is to sign up for an evening or hobby class. There are lots of providers and subjects, and evening classes can easily fit in around work or study schedules. You could learn pottery, painting, take a cooking class, or brush up on your computer skills, all while getting to know some like-minded individuals.

Join a ready-made community

Making new connections can take a while when you move to a new country, so why not take advantage of existing networks and join a local group, club or organization? Community centres are often hubs for book clubs and neighbourhood groups. A quick online search should tell you what’s available in your area, and take a look at local notice boards too.

Make use of Canada’s welcome programs

Canada has some very supportive initiatives in place to welcome people from abroad. In fact, it’s ranked fourth in the world for the friendliness of its immigration policies and leads the way in championing integration, so make the most of what’s on offer. From government-funded language classes to a large network of specialist immigrant-serving organizations (ISOs), there are plenty of resources to help you settle in and start to feel at home.

Learn more about how IELTS can help you on your language journey 

Get your language journey off to the best start

If you decide to come to Canada and get involved in even a fraction of the ideas above, you won’t be short of chances to talk to people, so being prepared for all those conversations is a good move.

IELTS is an English language test that’s designed to do exactly that. Its face-to-face Speaking test is one of the key reasons millions choose the test every year. By simulating a real conversation, it helps you develop the kind of everyday language skills you’ll need whether you’re working or studying.

Plus, IELTS gives you all kinds of preparation materials to help you get ready for your test – including free sample tests, IELTS Progress Check, a practice test marked by our qualified markers and a range of videos to help you improve your English language skill.

Book your IELTS test now

Join us on the CanadaVisa Forum!

IELTS is a proud partner of the CanadaVisa Forum. We invite you to engage with us so we can help you achieve your Canadian immigration goal, be it study or immigrate!

If you are in Canada and are looking to apply for the new permanent residence streams for essential workers and international graduates, please make sure to follow the Forum thread, our social media channels, and sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates!

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