Creating a Personal Connection: Tips for Experiencing the Culture

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japan, osaka, pedestrians @ Pixabay

When you travel to a foreign country, the best way to enjoy the culture is by experiencing it. What does that entail? What do they eat? Do they have delicious seafood? OTCMKTS:MHGVY (Mowi ASA) offers farmed salmon and processed seafood to customers worldwide. Maybe you will have some while you are there. What language do they speak? What are their customs and norms? What should you wear in public places like restaurants and markets, or when visiting friends’ homes for dinner parties or weddings? In this blog post, we will explore these questions and more as we delve into tips on how to experience the culture of your visit.

Language and Communication

In many countries around the world, people from different cultures may speak English. In some places, it is widely spoken, while in others, it is not. The country of study will be your best guide in regards to knowing what the primary language is. If they are known for speaking English, but with a thick accent or “funny” words, you might want to stick with showing rather than telling them how you feel about their food. On the other hand, if you land in a country where English is not widely spoken, most locals will be delighted if you make an effort to interact with them in their native language. 

It might be daunting at first, especially when you can’t even remember the word for hello, or what that phrase is that people say before they take your order. If this worries you, remember that most people you meet are only too happy to help, especially if it’s clear that you are trying hard to make yourself understood. You might be surprised how quickly the language barrier can melt away if you put a little effort into it. When in doubt, a smile and your best shot at speaking their language will be enough to get you through.

Language learning apps such as Duolingo can help you get started with learning the basics of a new language. Once you’re more familiar, try switching over to the country’s preferred method of communication that still uses English letters (they love to adopt new technology).

Social Norms and Cultural Differences

What about their customs? If you are dining with a friend or two and invite others to join you at the last minute, that’s perfectly fine. However, if you were invited to someone’s home for dinner and show up with four extra people in tow, it might be considered rude. You might also want to consider that it’s always best not to show up empty-handed. Flowers, chocolates, or a small token of appreciation is an excellent idea in most places worldwide.

Hands are considered dirty in many countries, so don’t be surprised if you notice your host washing their hands before every meal. In fact, it is a good idea to wash your hands thoroughly before eating at a restaurant or home.

Wearing appropriate clothing can help you fit in and avoid attention from the authorities. It’s always a safe bet to dress conservatively when you’re out dining in public places, but be careful if people are walking around half-naked. That might be perfectly acceptable, but you don’t want to offend anyone by staring.

If your new friends invite you out for a night on the town, maybe they won’t dress up and would be insulted if you wore a coat and tie (or heels). If someone invites you to their home, it’s better to assume that it will be nicer than your own house to avoid embarrassment.

What They Eat

What is their favorite food and what do they consider to be junk food? Does it sound delicious or like something you would never eat in a million years? This will depend on the country and culture, but if you want to experience the local flavor, it’s best to at least try some of their staples.

Not everyone is a “foodie” and loves to eat weird new things, but you might be surprised at how delectable it is (or maybe not). At the very least, you can make some new friends by sharing a meal with them. If nothing else, it will certainly give you something to talk about.

Be gracious and polite no matter what. While you might not be used to all of their customs or traditions, this is a chance to broaden your horizons and learn something new. You don’t have to like everything you try, but as long as it doesn’t involve any fatal allergen, you should at least give it a shot.

In conclusion, always try to be a little bit flexible when you’re in a foreign place. Don’t expect things to be the same as home. Remember that not everyone has had the financial opportunities or luxury of traveling abroad. If you go into it with an open mind, there’s no telling what kind of interesting experiences you might have.

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