We all view different things in a different light. We all have our points of view on art, the music we listen to, our political standpoints. But what if it came down to the simple gestures one makes such as waving, eating and drinking, or even blowing one’s nose?
It sounds strange, but most cultures around the world have a different view than we do in the United States. Let’s take a close look at some of our everyday gestures and see what the rest of the world thinks.
Tipping a waiter or waitress is a tricky idea no matter where we go. People take it as an insult if a person were to tip a waiter too little, thinking that the person wasn’t fully doing their job. Some take offense if someone were to tip too much, causing jealousy among the rest of the staff.
However, in South Korea and Japan, it is an insult to give a tip at all. They feel as if they are getting paid for their job because they are doing it well. They take great pride in what they do and do not want extra incentive to show off.
Another problem we all seem to face is showing up to events early, on time, or late. Here in America, most people find it annoying when someone shows up to a party an hour early. It sort of makes the host feel rushed to get everything done.
In Germany, it is considered unacceptable to be late to an event. Many people will come to believe that one person’s time is more important than everyone else’s. On the other hand, in Latin American cultures, it is rude to show up on time. This is mainly in Argentina, but if one arrives on time, it makes people feel uncomfortable and tends to show that the culprit is obsessive.
When our birthdays come around, we are normally told to open the gift for everyone to see, but not in China or India. Here, it shows a horrible sign of greed and may show that you didn’t take the time to appreciate the wrapping or the decorative use for the gift.
A big problem seen throughout the world is the dress code. For instance, in South Korea, it is considered unnatural if a man shows skin. Even when at the beach, it is public decency that the males wear a shirt to cover up. It is also considered rude in Arab, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist countries when one is showing the soles of their feet.
Since this is considered one of the dirtiest places on the human body, so when someone shows their feet off, it sort of says that the people around that person is beneath them. However, in most Asian and Caribbean cultures, it is considered disrespectful to keep your shoes on in someone else’s home.
Since we typically wear our shoes outside, there is always the chance of tracking dirt into a home. The idea is that someone just cleaned up before having company over, so tracking dirt in their house is rude.
So the next time you think about traveling, consider looking into some of the culture's customs. You should also be aware of what you say or do because you never know if you may hurt another person’s feelings.
Listed above were only some of the basics. Cultures are complex, so it is very important to be sensitive to those who may have different beliefs. While it is very important to travel, it is also important to soak up the culture before you go, otherwise, you may face some difficulties.