Whenever you travel outside of your own country, you are likely to come across cultural differences. These can be very interesting and are one of the main reasons that people love to travel – to experience something new and meet interesting new people. However, if you are travelling to somewhere and haven’t done your research, it’s possible that the cultural differences could take you by surprise. Here are some ideas:
- Try to learn some of the language. Even though many people will probably speak English, it will look like you have made an effort if you learn even just a few simple words. Learning how to say things like ‘hello’, or to as how much something is in a shop, can make people more willing to try and help you, despite any language barriers. Take a dictionary with you in case you get stuck.
- Read about the culture before you go. The internet is an incredible resource, so make the most of what it can offer you. Read about the culture and customs of the place you are visiting to see if there is anything that you should know about. For example, some countries will have a royal family that you should always show respect towards, or there might be ways of greeting people that show mutual respect.
- Dress appropriately when visiting religious places. The main things to be careful of are covering your shoulders and your knees. If you are visiting a temple in some parts of the world, you might also be expected to take your shoes off. Watch what other people do and copy them if you are unsure.
Follow these rules and you won’t go far wrong. Remember, cultural differences are something to celebrate and to enjoy, but be mindful so that you can behave appropriately when in a different country whose people may have different values to your own.