Intercultural Considerations

Memorial University is an inclusive academic institution, respectful of all cultures and backgrounds. Establishing relationships with individuals from different cultural backgrounds can sometimes be challenging as you learn social norms and navigate how to approach others in respectful ways. At times, varying social and cultural norms can lead to misunderstandings. However, while this may explain a behaviour it does not justify or excuse it. It is crucial to respect each individual's personal space as well as their preferences for contact. You can always consult with us for guidance, advice and to ask questions about what may be appropriate. We also encourage you to connect with the Internationalization Office for support with making social connections.

Canada is a multicultural society where various cultural practices can be practiced and observed. Generally, in most businesses and within academic settings, initial introductions often begin with a handshake, eye contact and a smile. However, even with this practice individual preference may vary. Requesting consent to shake hands, kiss on the cheek, hug, etc. is the surest way to avoid misunderstandings.

Dating is common in Canada and if asked on a date you have the right to accept or decline. Consensual intimate relationships with same gender, opposite gender and non-gender identifying persons are legal in Canada. Respecting individual decisions and choices is very important. If you ask someone on a date and they say "no", it is not appropriate to ask them repeatedly. It is considered sexual harassment if you persistently ask someone on a date or for contact if these requests are unwelcome.

Always Ask! Ask yourself. Ask others. Ask us. 


Sexual Harassment Office

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000