Foreign facts and traditions you didn't know

Living abroad does not only require learning a new language, but also adapting to a foreign culture. Each culture have its customs and traditions which can be very different- even shocking- from your own culture. In this article we are going to describe some traditions and customs from various countries which may provide you with food for thought!

With a little bit of research you will find out that there are many more cultural habits to get used to than just adapting to using chopsticks in China, or burping to express satisfaction after a meal in Arabic countries!

In a country like GERMANY, you will see people knocking on their table rather than clapping to applaud at the end of a master class or a really good meeting. In Beer-land clapping is reserved for theater and concerts! And talking about beer, if you want to respect German customs, don’t forget to clink glasses and say Prost! every single time you start a new beverage. And make eye contact to your fellow toasters, otherwise it is said that you will suffer bad sex relations for the next 7 years! Germans are quite organized people but there are times when the reality really doesn’t match the expectation. Join a queue in a German supermarket and see what happens when a new checkout opens. They rush to the new queue! If you are not fast enough maybe you can spend more time than expected waiting in line

Have you never noticed how people introduce themselves in SPAIN? Spaniards are well-known for being loud and friendly. If you happen to visit Spain, don’t be surprised if a girl kisses you twice - once on one cheek and once on the other cheek- to introduce herself. It’s the Spanish way of saying “Hello!”

Do you like cheese? If so, when you stay with a French host family make sure to spare some space in your stomach for the dessert. In FRANCE people tend to enjoy a cheese tasting plate accompanied by a good red wine after meals. Oh! And remember: if you are drinking a red wine and want to change to white wine, please don’t pour it in the same glass without cleaning it beforehand, if you don’t want to be the laughingstock of the party.

Italians are very superstitious and for them, nuns and ambulances are associated with death. So if you plan to spend your holidays in ITALY and you bump into one of them, don’t hesitate and bless yourself with the sign of the Cross… Just in case!

Now a little further afield, in RUSSIA you will discover that you receive a light stamp if you accidentally step on someone’s foot. Why? The first thought that will come to your mind is that it’s due to revenge. Far from this, Russians do that to avoid future conflict with this person.
In India is usually to see two men walking holding hands. This doesn’t mean that they are in a romantic relationship. This is just a sign of friendship. On the other hand, you will never see a couple expressing their love in public in India.

In some ASIAN COUNTRIES such as China, Korea or Japan, a sign of approval and appreciation of someone’s cooking is to slurp the soup loudly - what is considered rude in most western countries. However, in JAPAN don’t blow your nose loudly! It is considered very rude. So if you need to clean your nose while you are in the Land of the Rising Sun, do it in privately or turn your back to your companions before doing it. And remember, do it quietly if you want to avoid offending anyone.

If you are looking for a job in IRELAND, the UK or the US, remember not to add personal data in you CV (date of birth, sex, marital status or even a profile picture!). Equal opportunity legislation in these countries requires employers to recruit based on merit alone, and emitting these data enables organisations to choose candidates fairly!

These are some amazing cultural facts driven by external factors such as religion, idiosyncrasy or even geography, which determine the way people behave. Because…to sum up: we are all human beings, but our lifestyles are exceptionally diverse!