Visiting a different country or a new place isn’t just about the fun, the new experiences or the new photos you can share online. It is also about showing respect to their culture. We have to be fully aware that in travelling, culture is one thing that we need to be concerned of. Consider this in choosing a country and check which cultures are interesting for you and which one will be easier for you to deal with. Why is this important?
Put yourself on their shoes. If a foreigner arrives in your country and show disrespect to your culture, what would you do? How would you react? Well, you do not want this to happen in your own country because you would surely take it badly. Same is true when you are visiting a different place. That is why, you should learn how to deal with diverse cultures especially if you intend to go to many places around the world. Here are some tips to serve as your guide on how you should deal with a culture new to you:
1. Research their culture.
Before you leave for a trip, make sure that you have studied their culture. This will protect you from any trouble and this will make you easily understand how they act. It would also be a lot easier for you to respect their culture upon getting prior knowledge about it.
2. Be observant.
Reading about their culture isn’t enough. It would really be different once you are already in their place. So, be observant. Look around you and check on how they act. Before you do something, take a pause. Doing that will make you see what people usually do. This can also let you see what they consider as good manners.
Respect begets respect. If you want to be respected, show your respect to them too. Remember that this isn’t your territory. Do not be arrogant and proud. Be humble and be kind to everyone. Show your respect to their culture by not giving a disapproving look to what they do. Just observe and stay quiet. There are things that are of great value to these people which may not have value to you but that are how things are and you have to respect that. Another way to show respect is to conserve basic commodities that are precious to them like water.
4. Communicate properly.
Avoid using jargons, acronyms and slangs because aside from being misunderstood, the locals might misinterpret this. They might take it negatively and this will get you in trouble. When you talk, enunciate it clearly and speak slower. You can use gestures too to make them understand what you mean easier.
5. Know the rules.
Since you have researched about their culture, you could have known what their rules are. You cannot do things based on how you want it. Do it based on what is right for them. There are rules and laws that may look weird for you but this is the best thing you should do to show respect to them. You have to adapt to their country’s laws for your own protection.
6. Wear decent attire.
Every country has different clothing styles and you have to study that too. To be safe, always wear something decent because for most places, your dress is a sign of respect. You should always be neat and clean. You also need to dress conservatively when you are on a different country.
7. Know time differences.
In every culture, the activities they do for a certain time varies. You have to know this and follow it too. If they consider a certain time for siesta, then don’t go out to buy something when you know that everyone is taking a rest. You should also be prompt when there are time schedules because some cultures are very prompt and are very particular with time.
8. Watch your manners.
Always observe proper etiquette wherever you are. There are also some acts that look polite for other cultures but are improper for others. That is why you have to know what their culture likes and dislikes. This includes how you should act when you eat, talk and act.
9. Know their eating etiquettes.
There are cultures that are very strict about eating manners while there are others that use different eating utensils which are new to you. Learn about their eating etiquette so you won’t end up shocked and ignorant. You also need to know the kind of food they serve. Try to scout for restaurants which offer food that you are comfortable of eating.
10. Enjoy yourself.
Well, it doesn’t mean that just because you are in another country that you will be paranoid about respecting their culture all the time. You have to enjoy yourself too. One way of doing that is to take part with their activities like if they have festivals, try to join them or just take some pictures. Since you already know everything that you need to know about their culture, it is time for you to enjoy yourself because if you won’t have fun, what is the point of your vacation anyway?
Does it look hard or easy? It won’t be hard as long as you just remain respectful, humble and kind. While having a good time, always bear in mind the people around you to be sure that you are not offending anyone. Aside from those mentioned you should always watch your words and avoid jokes that would sound rude for the locals. Learn to communicate well and try to learn a few of their native language so you can speak to them too. Read more about this at How to Overcome Language Barrier When Travelling.