How to Respect Your Study Abroad Culture?
Entering a new country, what can seem like a new world, can be uneasy regarding how to act and speak around the native people. Different nations possess different etiquette and ideas of how to do things and that can cause a newcomer to feel overwhelmed. This is no justification to act offensive to nor withdrawn from the culture, but an advantageous opportunity to practice mindfulness.
This topic is a matter of being conscientious. Many of the ideas of respecting your host destination’s culture seem like common sense, which is true, but it takes more than just being aware. You must make an effort to adjust to the culture as they see fit, as some who study abroad forget about their manners. All things considered, to spare a local’s feelings, if you do not see them doing it, you should not be doing it either.
Don’t capture offensive pictures
It’s a given that traveling abroad will involve many picture-taking moments. It’s always encouraged to snap a picture of an event or place you would like to remember for days or years after your adventure, as long as these photos are tasteful. While it is obvious that study abroad students will take advantage of every picturesque moment, it’s important to really implement your mindfulness in an instance like this. Before pressing that capture button, ensure the focus of the picture is not a sacred place of worship or implication of something distressing that happened, like the site of concentration camps. It is entirely disrespectful to take a picture of your friend posing provocatively in front of a camp, let alone taking the picture in general. Don’t be the person who disobeys rules. Your journey to a nation is unique, something that not everyone will get the chance to do. So, respect your destination and its cultural artifacts, monuments, and locations.
Learn basic cultural code of conduct
Whichever foreign nation you choose to visit, each will enforce different conditions of etiquette and behaviors. While it may be tricky to learn them all, utilizing Google as an informational source will provide you footing of what is considered mannerly or not. Acquiring certain helpful information, and thus applying it with consideration, can help you dodge a blunder in etiquette. For example, wearing a color or outfit that is solely held for a specific event, or staring at people you don’t know in Britain, is considered impolite. Not educating yourself on basic lifestyle standards can really get you into a bind, so ascertain where culture’s etiquette boundaries lay regarding appearance, action, eating, and interaction. If you are worried about having your nose stuck in your phone all day or cannot seem to find an answer, asking a local is always a great conversation starter!
Respect your host lifestyle
Entering a completely different region, whether that be based on religion or a cultural event, upholding a certain style of tradition is both well-mannered and educational. How remarkable is it to be welcomed into another way of life and celebrate with the native people and their own special customs? It is an honor. Even if you personally do not hold any specific belief systems, respect your host culture. Once more, it is essential to do your research because if you come upon holy ground, you must be conscious of behavior that could be expressed as indecent and profane to others. An example consists of following the rules about veiling your head and shoulders or taking off shoes. Due to that, it’s a smart idea for women particularly to keep a scarf on hand, as you could potentially visit a hallowed ground. The only true way to wholly experience another culture is to participate. Don’t worry about appropriation, as you are on their land and they have welcomed you to revel in their practices.
Be conscious of how you represent your home country
It is inherent for individuals to bank on certain entitlement that their home country takes for granted, but just because it’s deemed “cool” in the States to spit crude convictions about trends and other cultural ideologies doesn’t make it admissible when you are on foreign soil. Even though it is not clearly enacted in a lot of parts in the United States, many countries take pride in their culture’s multitude of traditions and conventions. So, stating comments such as “#thanksObama” and “#firstworldproblems” is quite detrimental and insulting to other cultures. If you are not inclined to have an intelligent conversation after carelessly attacking things like that, think before you speak. Many locals are eager to learn more about a native’s outlook on US politics, so it is ignorant to open up that can of worms without coming to a conversational conclusion. Also, something that is unfamiliar to most is the usage of the identity term “American.” When traveling abroad, it can be considered unkind. This is especially crucial to keep in mind if you are studying Globally Abroad in a Latin American country, as individuals from there are also Americans, not just people from the US.
Plain and simple, just do your best to remain conscientious and aware while exploring a new way of life. It’s unreasonable to learn every little thing about another culture’s etiquette and customs. You can count on the fact that anyone who has ever went abroad has inadvertently upset a local. If that’s the case, simply apologize and let them know that you are learning. If you continue to be impartial and open to new things, it should be smooth sailing throughout your new cultural explorations.
Social Media Intern at Globally Abroad
Rebekah but free to call her Bekah. In addition to her Associate’s in General Studies, she holds a B.A. in Writing and Rhetoric, with a minor in Psychology. When she’s not writing she is working as a dance instructor at a high school. Apart from working, in general, Bekah enjoys reading a good true crime book, listening to true crime podcasts hiking and anything fitness.