Thursday, May 24, 2018

Traveling Tips for Interacting with a Different Culture

Wazzup Pilipinas!

A change is as good as a rest, as the saying goes, and traveling abroad to experience different cultures the world has to offer is crucial to broadening one's worldview and picking up some timeless memories along the way. It's always important, though, to be mindful of the cultures of the places you're going to be visiting, so if you're not going to blend in, you can still find ways of navigating them in a sensitive and respectful manner. There are a few things to think about here that you can apply as guidelines in a general manner to anyway going to be visiting.


You don't have to do sound like a native speaker when you're in a foreign country, but it always pays to try your best and make the effort to pick up, if nothing else, at least some basic phrases. "Please" and "thank you" should be the first words you learn, and use them liberally in customer service interactions and with anyone who helps you out. Also try and learn how to order food and asked for basic directions. Sometimes it's not even that important that you speak the language fluently or have a wide vocabulary to speak with. What is important, is that people will see that you're making the effort to try to adapt to their country, which they will often respond with enthusiasm and interest to in and of itself.


Do some research about the cultural mores and local customs and area before you go. Learn whether people speak to each other in a casual or formal context, especially if they just met or are interacting with you in the capacity of say a restaurant. From there, you can start finding out the details of the particular style of etiquette expected in different situations and country. For example, find out what the local customs are as far as tipping taxi drivers and waiters go, and the amounts appropriate. Also, be sure to be aware in plenty of situations how your behavior may reflect back on those around you. For example, if someone has taken you into their home and is feeding you a meal, be sure to finish what's on the plate and let them know that you enjoy the food. If someone offers you second helpings try and accept them so as not to cause offense, and if you don't like some of the food get your head down and try to eat it anyway.


Obviously you shouldn't wear clothes that will be too offensive or shocking to a culture abroad when you go there. Dressing like a punk rocker or gangster rapper is obviously not a good idea and will make you stand out the wrong reasons, and potentially be seen as insensitive. Unfortunately, women will have to be more rigorously aware of the standards of clothing seen as acceptable in the places they going to particularly in areas such as the Middle East, as having too much exposed flesh or hair can be seen as particularly offensive. Bear in mind as well, if you're going into place of worship or shrine you made expected to dress differently, take off your shoes, and observe other particular religious customs. If you have wealth, don't flaunt that either. Wearing a Rolex, for example, can be seen showing off and as much as anything else make you more attractive to the local criminal element and draw unwanted attention from their own quarters. For the most part, exercising common sense wherever possible and not throwing your weight around, whilst showing enthusiasm for the locals and a desire to learn about the culture will normally be enough to steer you okay in most situations. For everything else do some research, figure out the local do's and don'ts and if you have a question never be afraid to ask it.

Written by Ellen Royce

Ellen is a Colchester-based web writer. Having graduated the University of Essex for creative writing and traveled the world, she has developed a passion for technology and culture - how the two interact and change each other, how the society changes in the 21st century.  

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