People in western societies are pretty much the same basically, so there should be nothing for you to worry about, when it comes to dos and don’ts. I’m sure if you behave like always, nothing will be taken as rude or offensive.
"I assume the North Americans in question were idiots"
So do I.
Yeah, what he said.
As reference, I’m from England.
Like any place, you’re likely to find people that aren’t open to new cultures and people that embrace them. However, I’d be VERY surprised if you were to be treated negatively. The reason being - I live in and around areas where there is a vast cultural diversity. Cities like London, Leicester and Manchester have people from various ethnic backgrounds, they’re used to seeing new faces.
My family is fairly liberal and so are the majority of my friends and relatives. We’d welcome anybody with open arms. Again, if you received some hostility whilst you were here, I’d be VERY surprised. Even if you did, it won’t be due to you being Canadian. Although I live in a western society, I live in a town with a lot of people who aren’t really considered “western”. However, there aren’t really any problems apart from the occasional language-communication difficulty with some of the minority. In the past half year, I’ve had a white Scottish-English dude, a Czech dude and an American dude come live with us. The American dude I took to an all-Asian sports fair, he was the only white dude from around 1,000 Asians - nobody batted an eye-lid! He’s actually back in the country, can’t wait to see him again. My point being, we’re very hospitable. As long as you don’t do anything silly yourself (like kill someone), you’re ok!
The only negative thing I can think of (besides the poor weather) and not to put you off, but we do have a bit of racial conflict at times - mostly asians against whites. But that’s between the idiotic, uneducated wankers you’re likely to find anywhere. I’d doubt highly if you were to be affected.
On a side note, I’ve heard bad things about France too, that they don’t treat people well. Also, and I’m not being racist, but whilst at uni in a city away from home, my housemates and I were often put off by the cold, negligent Chinese International students that lived next door to us and the others we’d meet in and around uni. I don’t know what it was, but everytime they’d walk by us, they would lower their heads so as not to look at us. I never ONCE heard any of them speak English and apart from a couple of girls, they wouldn’t ever return a smile. Maybe I’m a bit ignorant of their culture, but surely they should make an affort and abide by the consensus that if someone smiles at you wishing to be friendly, you smile back. There were so many instances where our friendliness would get ignored. It was quite rude. Suffice to say we stopped trying to be friendly, and just got on with life. I’m just saying, it would have been nice if we had a good relationship with our neighbours. :-</E> We never had a problem with the other International students - Americans, Canadians, Germans, Dutch, Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, Malaysians, Japanese, Czech, Phillipino, Turkish, Nigerians or Greeks.