Traveling – Knowing About Different Cultures Helps You Avoid Offending People

How embarrassing could it be to simply shake hands with someone in a foreign country, only to discover you’ve just insulted his wife! Where is it illegal to get a fish drunk – find out before it’s too late!!!!

When one travels to a new and different country, we tend to get as far as learning the words for ‘Hello’ and ‘Goodbye’ in the local language. The more polite among us will go as far as to learn ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’. The more adventurous may go as far as learning such phrases as ‘ Where is the toilet please?’ or even ‘2 beers thank you’, but lets be honest, that’s really as far as most of us get.

Yes, the language part is important when travelling but there is also so much more to spending time in a new country. How many of us can honestly say that we really seen a country when we arrive home and begin showing photos and video clips to anyone who will watch. Yes you may have a new piece of lingo and some lovely photos, but how much of the country did you really absorb?

So much of a countries character is based upon their customs and culture, so how much of that do we actually know. And more importantly, do we really know what we should and shouldn’t do in certain parts of the world.

A phrase or gesture of goodwill in one part of the world may just be the biggest insult in another. Maybe to avoid embarrassment, it might be a good idea whether travelling or just out of pure interest, to take a look at some of these cultures. Many are old and ancient customs and simply a way of life

For Example:

– In Thailand it is rude to enter a persons house with your shoes on, and equally rude to cross your legs when sitting, therefore pointing your toes at someone.

– Western children may be used to a pat on the head as encouragement, however, in Thailand it is an insult as the head is considered the most important part of the body and should never be touched by another

Many on the other hand are just down right daft!!!!:

– In London it is still considered Illegal to flag down a Taxi if you have the plague

– Women in Florida may be jailed if they parachute on a Sunday

– In Ohio It is illegal to get a fish drunk

– It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament

It is probably also important to find out how we can make a good first impression when entering a new part of the world, how do we make friends and which gifts should and shouldn’t be exchanged. Maybe we should also be taking into account the roles of people within each society and the importance of family members.

OK, so yes, going to a new country is all about learning a new bit of language and it is all about seeing the sights, but to really see a country you need to absorb the customs and traditions of the people around you, respect their culture and you will probably feel like you’ve really seen the place you’ve just been to!

Source by Emma H

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