How to cope with cultural differences

We all like to travel and see a different part of the world. No matter where you go, everything will be different than your home country.  It is actually up to you how you will adapt to new situations. It will say a lot about your attitude towards other cultures.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            As I experienced a lot of different cultures in my life there are some things that just apply to all of them.  In this article I will tell about the differences in some countries and how you can react on some of them.

Preparation

If you have decided to travel to another country and it is way different than your home country. Try to have a look on the internet for what you can expect from the people out there.  You will learn a lot before you even have visited the country.  There is a chance that you will reconsider going to that country after you did your homework.  For example if you have decided to go to an Arab country this month you would have made your worst choice ever if you did not do your homework before booking those tickets.  Of course you would have a great vacation but if you are hungry in the noon and you want to lunch somewhere and you see that all the restaurants are closed. That is right this month is the month of the Ramadan for our Muslim friends. So do your homework before you decide to go somewhere.

 

Normal-Abnormal

Once you arrived in another country you will see that it is different. What normal is for you, you will see notice that it is ‘’strange’’ to others.  There will be people starring at you and in the worst scenario they will say something that you do not even understand. The following can have a different meaning in other countries:

  • Greetings: A normal greeting can different so much in some countries. For example in Germany they shake hand every time they see someone and when they leave. While in Britain they only shake hands when you meet a person for the first time. In most Arabic countries it is unusual to shake hands of a woman.  They will just say Hi while they close their arms. In Japan they take it to a higher level and bow for a person for who they meet for the first time.

 

  • Gestures:  the most normal thing in the world saying yes can even be different in some countries. In America when you nod your head it means ‘’ Yes’’. An English person would just want to say ‘’I understand ‘’.  In Thailand they will not understand anything when you just nod your head while you wanted to mean ‘’Yes please’’.


  • Dress:  If you are going for holiday to a warm country you mostly pack short skirts and your bikini. Well there are some countries where you cannot walk with a short skirt on the street even when it is 40 degrees outside. Mostly the Arab countries do not appreciate when you walk almost nude on the street as you will offend their religion. There are some countries where you can walk however you want. For example in Turkey, Istanbul you can walk with your bikini on the street if you want to. But not if you head to the East of the country.
  • Just accept it!

I think that this is the most important tip I can give to you. No matter where you go or what you see just try to accept it that they are different than you. They have other values and are raised different than many others.  If it is strange for you that you see a woman all wrapped in a burka while it is 40 degrees, do not give them a bad look or let them feel that you think they are just crazy. It is what they want and let them be free of doing their own thing. If you start by accepting it will be easier for you when you have a talk with one of the locals. They will feel that you do not think that it is strange for you for what you see. Do not forget that you are a guest in their country and they will treat you good if you just try to understand them.

 

Bio Sadettin is a huge fan of travel and blogs for Apartime, who provide holiday rentals in New York City.  Follow him on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/sadoBCN

 

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  1. I was wondering where you found this photograph? And if you took it – could I please use it for a diversity video that I am creating? Thanks!

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