Crossing borders and cultural differences

Travelling is not easy. We cross borders and as soon as we are doing it we enter to an entirely new world. I might say the same in my words but I’ve read today exactly what I think in the Hitch-Hiker’s Handbook blog: “Border crossings are much more than just geo-political obstacles in your way; they are transition points behind which you leave all that you have tamed during your visit in a country and once this magical barrier is crossed, you enter a completely different world in which you need to learn everything anew. The language that you’ve been used to hearing, here is unintelligible; the money in your wallet has no power anymore and the rules you’ve learnt and the local knowledge you’ve acquired are utterly irrelevant in this new land”.
So here we are. This is exactly why I decided to start new series of cultural guides on my blog. I hope I will find time to do it regularly and here is the start.

There is a saying “If you are in Rome, do as the Romans”. And is true. Travelling is a best school ever. And we should remember to do not predict somebody’s behaviour based on our own culture and assumptions. What is normal for us may be even insulting for somebody else. And we can even not imagine some of those stuff. Here are some examples, and I promise to write more about them soon: showing an anger (which leads to loss of face in Asia), giving or not a gift while visiting somebody, showing your sole, being 2 minutes late or not being late, and much more).

There is many good books on that subject. One of best I’ve ever read is Cross Cultural Business Behavior: Negotiating, Selling, Sourcing And Managing Across Cultures by Richard Gesteland. The book that is useful not only for business, but also almost unavailable. It was printed very long time ago for the last time and now prices are crazy. But even reading books and thinking that we know, understand and are able to implement that into our lives it’s not that easy. Especially in stressful situations our instincts and behaviours learned from childhood are dominant. And I know what I say, I was unfortunate enough to practice it on myself ;)

Anyway more information is to come. Visit my blog, check for new articles and let me know what you would like to know in particular. Is there any country/ culture you are interested most? Did you have any situation and you would like to understand it better? The best teacher is the practice. And I hope this will be interesting not only for me :)

Write to you soon!

Thailand – Laos border, only for locals


2 responses to “Crossing borders and cultural differences

  1. I agree with you fully. And I definitely am putting Cross Cultural Business Behavior: Negotiating, Selling, Sourcing And Managing Across Cultures on my book list to read!! Sounds interesting.

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