Know Before You Go


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Tips on being culturally responsible around the world

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Know Before You Go

  1. 1. Know Before You GoTips on Being Culturally Responsible
  2. 2. Ecuador People will greet with a handshake and a smile. Try using the appropriate greeting for the time of day: Buenos dias: Good morning Buenas tardes: Good afternoon Buenas noches: Good evening When addressing people, use senor and senora. Only close friends and family address each other by their first names, but if someone uses your first name, it generally means you can address them with their first name. If invited to someone’s home, it is polite to bring flowers, wine, pastries, or sweets for the host. Avoid giving lilies or marigolds, as they are used at funerals.
  3. 3. Ecuador It is considered polite to leave a small amount of food on your plate when you are done eating. If you do not want more to drink, leave some liquid in your glass. Cover your mouth if you feel the need to yawn, as yawning in public is considered rude. It’s a legal requirement to carry your passport with you at all times.Guests will be served first, and the An advance visa is not requiredhost will say buen provecho (enjoyyour meal) as an invitation to for US citizens.begin eating.
  4. 4. Vietnam Family is extremely important to the Vietnamese and they often live with their extended family in one household. In this families, the father is the head of the household while the children take care of their aging parents. The philosophies of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism play a big part in the culture and every day lives. For example, Confucian beliefs emphasize respect for elders, and strongly influence family relationships in Vietnam.
  5. 5. VietnamVietnam’s etiquette expectations are similar to that of many other Asian countries. Here are a few general tips to keep in mind: Avoid public displays of affection. Don’t touch anyone’s head; this is very disrespectful in Asian countries. It is impolite to point with your finger. Instead, use your entire hand to gesture towards something. Don’t stand with your hands on your hips, it is considered ill-mannered, as is, crossing your arms across your chest. The young generations generally shake both hands when greeting, and do not usually shake hands with an older person. A slight bow may be used to show respect to an elderly person. Dress conservatively. Even though it can get quite hot, it is best not to show too much skin. Dress appropriate when visiting pagodas, meaning no shorts, skirts, dresses, or revealing clothing. In larger cities the dress code may be a little more relaxed.
  6. 6. VietnamWhen dining with a family, youshould wait to be showed yourseat and only sit once the eldestperson has taken their seat.Bargaining is very common, but itis important to bargain fairthroughout the transaction and notto get angry or begin arguing.Tipping is always greatlyappreciated but never expected.However, if you visit a pagoda andare shown a tour of the ground, besure to leave a little something inthe contributions box.
  7. 7. NepalThe greeting in Nepal is Namaste, which is done by bringing yourpalms together a few inches below your chin and facing themupwards and slightly bowing your head. Namaste is both a gestureand spoken greeting. It can mean hello, how are you, have a niceday, and good bye.Punctuality is not a popular custom, so bus schedules and traffic areoften unpredictable. Don’t get frustrated with delays but insteadprepare for them.Before entering someone’s home or a temple, remove your shoes.Ask permission before entering a Hindu temple.
  8. 8. Nepal When sitting down at a meal with others, don’t handle any food other than your own. Pass food containers with only your right hand and make sure you don’t eat off anyone else’s plate. When signaling agreement, shake your head from side to side and when showing disagreement, nod your head up and down. If it polite to ask for seconds when you eat at someone’s house. If you’re in a group and have to leave early, apologize by saying bistaii khaanus, meaning please eat slowly.
  9. 9. Japan A large aspect of Japanese society is harmony and although the Japanese people are very forgiving, it’s appreciated when one acts respectfully and appropriately. Older generations greet with bows while younger generations may use handshakes. The common way to address people is by their last name, followed by the suffix “-san,” which is a more flexible version of Ms./Mr./Mrs. In non-formal situations, Japanese people may address you by your first name followed by “-san.”
  10. 10. JapanWhen entering a Japanese house ora ryokan, remove your shoes at thedoorway.Punctuality is valued in Japaneseculture, as you will be able to noteby trains and buses always beingexactly on time.Slurping your noodles when eatingwith chopsticks is acceptable, itenables you to taste the full flavor ofthe noodle while you eat.There is no tipping in almost anycircumstance in Japan. There is onenotable exception: if you stay in anice ryokan, it may be consideredpolite to leave a tip to the proprietorat the end of your stay.
  11. 11. Egypt Unlike many places in the modern world, Egypt still has a three-part social class system that plays a major role in the society. It consists of the upper, middle and lower class. Muslim is the dominant religion in Egypt and it plays a major role in the society’s values and practices. Handshakes are customary between those of the same sex. Handshakes may be longer than is routine in other countries.
  12. 12. EgyptSalting your food at a homecooked meal is considered rude.Once you are finished leave asmall amount of food on your plateor you will continue to be served.Appearances are very important inEgypt and dressing conservativelyis a respectful gesture to theirculture; modesty is key.Within the tourism industry ofEgypt, tipping is expected. Keepin consideration that mostEgyptians that work in the industryrely on tips as part of their pay.
  13. 13. Colombia The phrase “a la orden” translates to “at your order”, which can be substituted and used in place of “thank you” and “may I help you?”. There are three ethnic group from which the citizens of Colombia descend from: Indians, African people brought to the country as slaves, and European settlers. Colombian coffee is a major trademark, and the fruit juices of the country are held with high regard.
  14. 14. ColombiaColombians don’t follow strict time When dining at someone’s home,frames like in the U.S. Being on time wait to be seated by the host andfor dinner parties and casual don’t rest your elbows on the table.meetings is not imperative forColombians. Meetings do not alwaysfollow a linear pattern. If you’re caught with any amount of drugs, whether you’re trying to transport them or not, jail time will be a consequence. When discussed, drugs are a serious topic that isn’t taken lightly and never mentioned in a joking matter.
  15. 15. IndiaThe official language of the country is Hindi. Although, there aredifferent languages for the many different states of India.All relationships within the culture are part of some type of hierarchy.Teachers are the source of all knowledge, fathers are the head/leaderof the family, and both are very well respected.When greeting someone or saying goodbye, hold your palms togetherat chest level while announcing “namaste”. This is the most commongreeting.
  16. 16. IndiaWhen eating dinner at someone’shouse, remove your shoes beforeentering and dress conservatively.Dietary restrictions are commonamong Indian religions. Forexample, Muslims don’t eat pork ordrink alcohol.Relationships within business arevery important in India, as Indiansprefer to do business with peoplethey know. Therefore, mostmeetings begin with small talk andbusiness is discussed much later.
  17. 17. CambodiaAround 95% of Cambodians areBuddhist, which is reflected intheir daily lives.One key component ofCambodian culture, derived fromBuddhism, is a concept referred toas “saving face,” or never loosingyour cool no matter what thesituation may be, especially inpublic.They believe in reincarnation andkarma. Protecting the reputationof themselves as well as thecollective society, or family, is veryimportant.
  18. 18. CambodiaGreetings between Cambodiansare dependent on the hierarchicalrelationship between the people.The person who is the eldest ismost likely the person that is goingto greet you.Bow your head and put your handstogether in a praying position whenintroducing yourself.Don’t touch a person on the headbecause it is known as the highest andmost spiritual part of the body. It isconsidered incredibly rude to do so.
  19. 19. TanzaniaTanzanian people, who speak Swahili as their main language, areknown to be extremely friendly and polite.In Tanzania, handshakes are extremely important in social etiquette.Most Tanzanians continue to hold hands throughout the entireconversation.Try not to pass things with your left hand as it is typically used for toiletduties. When receiving something, always use your right hand, whichis also used for eating.
  20. 20. Tanzania Great respect is given to the person who cooks the food for a meal. Never smell the food because this indicates that the food is bad and is disrespectful to the cook. Respect for their elders is very important within their culture. Tanzanians feel as if the older you are the more knowledgeable you are. Public displays of affections are frowned upon.
  21. 21. Punctuality is seen as a signChina of respect, so make sure to always arrive to dinner on time. Chinese dinners are served family style on a glass circle that rotates in the middle of the table. Table mannerisms are very specific in China. The host always sits facing the open door, you should wait to be seated, and do not eat or drink until the host has done so themselves. A major faux pas in China is placing your chopsticks straight up in your bowl, as this symbolizes death.
  22. 22. China Tasting all the dishes that are offered to you is considered a cultural courtesy and will be greatly appreciated. If you’re finished with your meal, leave a little bit of food on your plate. Otherwise, you’re indicating you’re still hungry. It is uncommon to leave a tip in China.
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