Author Topic: etiquette of visiting other countries  (Read 18616 times)

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Redblues

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #45 on: August 26, 2009, 03:37:01 PM »
I think the one thing that all people everywhere on earth have in common is that everyone hates tourists.  ;)

However, this does not mean that one is entitled to begin a conversation with a tourist with an insult directed at people from that country.  I do not need to hear that most Americans are slobs, wear too much make-up or have terrible taste in clothing or food. (Who eats at all those local McDonalds, anyway?  No country has THAT many American tourists!)  Insulting people is hostile, not a way to begin a pleasant conversation with a visitor from another country.  Americans aren't THAT friendly!

Yarnie

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #46 on: August 26, 2009, 05:44:24 PM »
Be open minded, and be slow to take offense.  Also, go with the flow.  I went to India, and once I sort of just succumbed to the pace, I was really happy.  Sure, I had no idea when my plane would take off, but it did eventually, and I was on it, so all was well. :)

Also, if you are in a poorer country, don't take offense that you pay more than the locals.  Sure, that cab ride cost you 100 rupees when the locals get it for 60, but you are arguing over a quarter.  And that quarter is a heck of a lot more valuable to them than it is to you.

(That's not to say to not bargain - but recognize that you may end up paying more, and that's okay.)

Find out what "friendly" means in the country you are going to.  I found that my lack of eye contact, dislike of being touched, and shy smiles were actually seen positively in India.  People seemed to respond to me better than to the typical American friendliness. 

Plus, if you appear to be trying, and are open minded, people will forgive your mistakes.  And I found in India, they love talking about themselves, and hearing about you - I learned so much, it was amazing.

AuntyEm

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #47 on: August 27, 2009, 04:51:18 AM »
For now I live in Denmark and here are a few I notice:

If you don't speak the language, start off with "Hello--May I speak English?"  This give them a chance to adjust or find someone else who feels more comfortable speaking with you.  Most of the time, people are happy to show off their bilingual abilities but occasionally I find they might be shy or not speak English well.

Don't mix two different languages. It is confusing to hear english with foreign words sprinkled in unless the foreign word is so familiar in english that everyone would understand it.

Be pleasant but don't gush.  I have had many Danes here comment to me that Americans are so enthusiastic and complimentary that they don't think it is genuine.  :P (Who knew you could be too nice and polite?)

I agree with not speaking too loudly in public.  We recently had a giant cruise ship dock overnight in our little harbor and of course many foreigners walking through the town for the day.  Some people really stuck out with their loud talking and assumption that the local people don't understand what they are saying--though it was sure nice for me to hear voices from home!

iridaceae

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #48 on: August 27, 2009, 07:44:01 AM »
If you are bound and determined to find fault with everything in country X because "it's not HomeCountry", do everyone a favor and just don't travel.

Do not assume the people of the country are going to go to bed with you at the drop of a hat because of some movie you saw on the adult channel.








Tizzy

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #49 on: September 03, 2009, 10:42:07 AM »
From an American in DC...

If instructions are given over an intercom on public transit, listen. If you do not understand them then pay attention to what other people are doing. You will get barked at if you block the whole escalator during rush hour. Yes, we may all be moving faster than you are used but that also means we get very impatient when you block the way. This goes for sidewalks as well. Make sure you understand the rules for pedestrians. In some US cities walking out into the street against the light will tgt you run over!

Do not ask me if I am embarrassed about the state of X, Y, or Z in my country. Do not ask me where I was on September 11th. Do not ask me if I can read a map. Do not tell me that you are surprised how clean/polite/safe the city is.

And a giant POD to everyone who said that while it's a major tourist site it's also people's homes.

I don't think any one nationality is the worst. It's school groups, from any country that I can't handle.  ;D



Switcher

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #50 on: November 16, 2009, 03:56:11 PM »
Something I noticed in Germany is that they have a very different sense of humor than Americans do. This is probably true for other countries. Don't automatically assume that sarcasm is understood or popular. This goes for all kinds of humor- dirty jokes may be all the rage where you come from, but in areas that are largely conservative, this is a bad idea. Try to get a feel for local humor before you try to tell jokes.

Expect questions about your country, and try to study up a little. A lot of people will try to learn about their visitors, so if you have no idea about your countries government, they will be disappointed.


Waltraud

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #51 on: November 17, 2009, 02:44:26 AM »
Something I noticed in Germany is that they have a very different sense of humor than Americans do. This is probably true for other countries.

Really? Please elaborate. ;) I'm deadly curious about slight cultural differences and "outsiders'" views of Germany because I often feel it's a bit of a complicated culture. PM me if you don't want to clog up the thread.... BTW I'm glad that you grant us a sense of humour after all.  ;D

I think that attempts at humour in a different language or culture are most likely to go wrong. (Not to say that you messed up in some way! Just my experience...)

Language mistakes are mostly no problem; many people do their best to understand you or dig up their rusty English.  ;)

Cultural mistakes are much easier to make and much more difficult to correct. Even within the great big "Western Culture" most e-hellions belong to. I, for one, have never written a thank-you note in my life. And "showers" of any non-wet kind would be very much frowned upon where I live.

A German example might be: Never cross a red light. Not even at three o'clock in the morning somewhere in the sticks between Wolpertinger Hill and Bieslinger Forest. We hate that.  ;)

Waltraud

magdalena

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #52 on: November 17, 2009, 03:20:01 AM »
Mistress Ego,
I'm just as curious as Waltraud is.
I guess I've been here too long, because I keep having a hard time figuring out what's "different" in Germany. It's all "normal" to me by now.
(there, I said it, don't tell my hubby though, I still want to tease him about being "so German" whatever that might mean)



Nurvingiel

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #53 on: November 17, 2009, 03:24:22 AM »
I love travelling. There are a lot of good tips in this thread. I would only add, don't compound rudeness with irony. E.g. don't go to India and complain that the tea is not like back home. ;)
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mechtilde

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #54 on: November 17, 2009, 03:30:36 AM »
Well speaking as an Englishwoman-I thing that Germans have a much drier sense of humour than us. Quite often we won't "get it" when someone makes a joke with a completely straight face and are nervous about laughing in case we are thought to be rude.

Also I thing that Germans go in for Schdenfreude a little more than the English, but don't go in for the kind of humour which makes you squirm.
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Fluffy Cat

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #55 on: November 17, 2009, 03:53:43 AM »
Something I noticed in Germany is that they have a very different sense of humor than Americans do. This is probably true for other countries. Don't automatically assume that sarcasm is understood or popular. This goes for all kinds of humor- dirty jokes may be all the rage where you come from, but in areas that are largely conservative, this is a bad idea. Try to get a feel for local humor before you try to tell jokes.


I wouldn't exactly say that sarcasm and dirty jokes are considered popular in America. In fact, I'd say they are generally frowned upon.  I'm pretty sure both of those are an acquired taste (if at all) regardless of the country/language.  And it pains me to say so being an expert at both (in front of a receptive audience only).
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Fluffy Cat

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #56 on: November 17, 2009, 03:56:48 AM »
Please, please, please do not quack at the "quaint locals" during your Duck Tour.  Please.  I know its not your fault, and the tour guide is egging you on to do it, but please just don't.  Thank you.
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Snowy Owl

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #57 on: November 17, 2009, 03:17:13 PM »
Something I noticed in Germany is that they have a very different sense of humor than Americans do. This is probably true for other countries.

Really? Please elaborate. ;) I'm deadly curious about slight cultural differences and "outsiders'" views of Germany because I often feel it's a bit of a complicated culture. PM me if you don't want to clog up the thread.... BTW I'm glad that you grant us a sense of humour after all.  ;D.

As an English person who's lived in Germany I think you (collectively) definitely have a sense of humour, it's just subtle.  A lot of the humour I noticed was based around an understanding of the German language, word games etc as well as regional stereotypes (one friend told a lot of jokes about Bavarians).  It's not always easy to translate or explain. I think it can be quite bawdy also, although that could just be the company I kept.  
I think the main difference is that social and s*xual taboos in Germany are different from those in England so things that are considered to be funny can vary.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2009, 06:11:35 PM by Snowy Owl »
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Switcher

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #58 on: November 18, 2009, 09:57:25 AM »
Haha, I didn't mean to imply that dirty jokes were really popular in the entire U.S. It was more of a blanket statement for every country. IE- If the country/area you come from loves dirty jokes, you might want to wait a bit before introducing your new found friends to it.

I know that my friends and I from California were big on sarcasm. First time I tried it in Germany (with people who understood English very well), it just hit dead. But they loved puns! My friends from school, my host families, and the teachers that made jokes all went crazy for puns.

And the way I said Spaetzle. I couldn't get the H in there so it was Spet-Zeel instead of Spchet-Chel.

Auntie Mame

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Re: etiquette of visiting other countries
« Reply #59 on: November 24, 2009, 02:43:34 PM »
Read up about the history and culture of the country you intend to visit before you go. It may help you to avoid putting your foot in it.

Oooo, I have a story about this!

When I was visiting Belfast I witnessed these guys having a full blown hissy fit because they couldn't check their luggage at the train station.  In Belfast.  They kept demanding to know why, and finally the very frustrated employee said "Because people put bombs in them".   These guys kept arguing the point, and demanding to check their luggage.  A quick peak at Ireland's very recent history would would make it obvious as to why no one checks luggage, anywhere.  Especially, Belfast!
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