Dating, diet and drinking: The lies international student tell their parents


Have you ever lied to your parents? Some Sheridan international students from India lie to their parents every week while talking to them on Skype. But it’s not a lie that can hurt feelings; it’s a white lie that makes their parents happy.

There are many kinds of lies students tell their parents but there are three common themes: Dating, eating non-vegetarian food and drinking alcohol. It might sound like a Bollywood masala movie script but that’s the only reality they have to face every day.

Sending their children abroad is a common dream of Indian parents but worries that they will adopt Western or American culture are their most common nightmare.


Why do parents have so much fear of their children being Americanized? The answer is hidden in the three most common lies that students tell their parents.

First, dating.

Indian students say their parents’ worry about dating because of cultural differences and values. Dating while being a student means no concentration on study.

Parents don’t want their children to date until they get a job and are settled down. After that if an Indian family is really traditional, parents will want to arrange a marriage. In a modern family, you can date any Indian boy or girl you want, and if your family is really modern, then you can date anyone if you want.

Second is eating non-vegetarian food.

Many Indian families practise vegetarianism, especially some Hindus and Jain communities. It is a religious and humanitarian thing for them and they are strict on the issue.

Some students started eating meat and beef after coming to Canada. Some of them tried it once and liked the taste. Some were influenced by others and some said they tried it because of the cold weather, thinking it would be healthier.

Every student has his or her own reason for being a non-vegetarian. This is a thing that they can never reveal to their parents because of religious, caste or class issues, which can hurt their parents’ feelings.

The third lie is drinking alcohol.

Drinking alcohol and smoking in Canada is not uncommon, unlike India, where people mostly hide and drink. Some Hindus consider alcohol consumption a sinful act and the common belief is it destroys the whole family.

So, if an Indian student attends the Thursday pub night at the Marquee, he always has to look sober to his parents and tell them that he has not touched alcohol.

The lies don’t end with Skype, however. Many students have to block their parents from certain Facebook posts, because they never want to be seen holding a can of beer, our on a date or eating meat.