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Cultural Differences Between Canada and Ukraine

5. December 2012 by Dasha 0 Comments

Though Canada and Ukraine enjoy deep ties, some cultural differences can cause confusion and misunderstandings. With that in mind, here are three cultural differences between Canada and Ukraine, as well as tips to help you and a lady overcome potential issues.

Communication Styles

While in public, most Ukrainians stand close to their conversation partners in order to speak softly. While they may be loud and boisterous among friends, most Ukrainians keep their voices low in public as loud displays are considered rude.

Making eye contact with and smiling at strangers is also unusual in Ukraine, something that strikes many foreigners as cold and unfriendly. Among friends and acquaintances, however, pats on the shoulder, kisses on the cheek, and hugs are normal and accepted.

Tip for You: If you’re in Ukraine, try to keep your voice down so as not to offend the locals and don’t be put off if a stranger doesn’t return your smile. You may also encounter conversation habits you’re not used to, such as kisses, hugs, and a lack of personal space.

Tip for Her: Let your lady know that smiles from strangers are the norm and that looking away can appear unfriendly. You may also help to clue her in about displays of affection that may make some Canadians uncomfortable.  


Appearance and Dress

In general, Ukrainians value looks more than men and women in Canada and dress well to give the appearance of a high status. Women, especially, take great pains with their looks and may spend hours applying makeup and getting their hair styled.

Tip for You: When in Ukraine, always make an effort to look your best and dress up rather than down. Ukrainians can often spot a foreigner by their casual clothes and less-then immaculate appearance.

Tip for Her: Advise your lady that appearance may be less emphasized in Canada than in Ukraine, and that she may be more dressed up than others, though she is welcome to dress however she wants.



Ukrainians are generally not punctual. Being late to a meeting or appointment is normal in Ukraine, and many residents would be unnerved to be held to an exact starting time. 

Tip for You: Don’t fret if a lady is late meeting you out in Ukraine. Not only is punctuality a foreign concept there, but public transportation can be unreliable and she may be held up by circumstances outside her control.

Tip for Her: If your lady is making a life in Canada, let her know that it’s rude to arrive late to a meeting or appointment and that she can lose her job for being tardy.

Good luck!

Canada's Centre for Intercultural Learning