The world is estimated to have more than 7 billion people with so many different cultures, habits and beliefs. What is normal in one region, could be taken as a grade insult in another. Considering how much MUNers travel internationally, we come up with an idea to provide you with the explanation on how to deal with that, but also help you avoid embarrassment or misunderstandings during your travels abroad.
The most important part of any proper international communication is showing respect for the person you are talking to and his/her culture. That’s quintessential step towards overcoming any cultural gap. No one expects you to be fully familiar with all the customs of people there, but you have to show ability to adapt to some level. Your communication style should be flexible, you have to adapt to the local environment, proving that you are humble and respectful, full of interest for the local traditions and passionate about their culture. Therefore, in order to establish life longing relationships and friendships with people from all around the globe, you have to be successful in such a social interactions.
Let’s check some of interesting examples.
Did you know that, in Estonia, passive silence is a very important part of the communication style?
Did you know that, in Azerbaijan, men greet each other with a handshake, a kiss on the cheek and they say "salaam" (hello), while women hug and kiss each other once on the left cheek, without shaking their hands?
Did you know that, in Canada, If you are using French, it is always used the formal pronoun "vous" (you) instead of the informal "tu" (you)?
Did you know that, in Japan, the traditional form of greeting is the bow? How far you bow depends upon your relationship to the other person or situation. The deeper you bow, the more respect you show.
Did you know that, in Morocco, food is served from a communal bowl. You have to scoop the food with a piece of bread (or the thumb) and the first two fingers of the right hand. Eat and drink only with the right hand.
Did you know that, in Cyprus, once a relationship has been developed, their loyalty will be to you (personally) rather than to the company you represent.
Did you know that, in Kuwait, the locals prefer to do business with those with whom they have a personal relationship. They also spend a great deal of time on the getting-to-know-you process.
Did you know that, in Algeria, the use of titles is very important. When introduced to someone, try to call them by their honorific, professional, or academic title and their surname.
Now, some advice from the Authors:
Did you know that, in Italy, the concept of “bella figura” (good image) is important to us. We unconsciously assess another person's age and social standing in the first few seconds. “Bella figura” is more than dressing well. It is a state of mind. It is extended to your projects, confidence, style. If the take care of something, we do it with class.
Did you know that, in Serbia it’s polite to kiss person three times in their cheeks when you are meeting them. That’s the gesture of friendship and hospitality.
What about your culture? Is there anything interesting that we should know while visiting your country? Please, share it with our fellow MUNers in the comment section below!