Cultural Etiquette in a Global World

There is much talk today on acceptance and diversity… buzz words which require action.  Think how culturally diverse Canada is, and now imagine the opportunities that await you when you step outside our borders.

Travel today is trending towards the “insider experience”, the unique accommodation options, from castles to boutique hotels to camping in a yurt.  The world of travel can bring us into contact with real people who live, work and play in the places we are visiting.   At the very least, living in a global world provides us with spontaneous opportunities to interact with people of different cultures.  

It is so easy now to “accidentally” offend someone which may not be our intention.  We reach out … but do we stand too close? Use an offensive hand gesture? Say the wrong thing? Bring the wrong gift? Wear the wrong clothes?

There are no standard responses to cultural sensitivity. You must do your homework in advance. Study up before your next trip and see how many of these you can answer correctly! Match up the country with a cultural norm:

  1. Sports is a good topic of conversation here
  2. Appreciate this country’s achievements
  3. Never pour your own cup of tea     
  4. If you cannot speak their language, apologize in their language    
  5. When dining out, talk at great length about the food, the ingredients and how it was prepared     
  6. In this country the family defines the person and is a source of trustworthiness  
  7. Evasiveness in conversation may be their way of saying no      
  8. “What do you do?” is a common question asked in this country      

a. Italy

b. France

c. Saudi Arabia

d. Mexico

f. Australia

g. United States

h. Canada

i. China

Answers: (1.f, 2.h, 3.i, 4.b, 5.a, 6.d, 7.c, 8.g)

From Anne’s column in Waypoints Global – an online magazine for adventurous affluent travelers seeking to discover the world on water … one waypoint at a time!  

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