Singapore is home to three of Asia’s great cultures— Chinese, Malay, and Indian—and, although they each have their own distinct norms, values, and religions, many of these are held in common. When visiting a Singaporean at home, it is vital to identify and understand the cultural heritage of your host so that you can act appropriately. Here are three major aspects to consider when invited to visit a Singaporean in their home:
It is a privilege to be invited to a Singaporean home, but it is easy to cause offense inadvertently. In all three communities (and among many Westerners too) it is customary to remove your shoes when entering the home (so wear socks or tights).
Sri Lanka is well known for its tropical beaches, exotic wildlife and pristine temples, but many economists have pointed to its fast rate of growth, too. Since the end of the civil war in 2009, the nation has seen a drop in poverty from 15% to just 4% and it is now considered a middle income country. With this in mind many are looking to do business there, but with strong religious inclinations, powerful communal bonds and a strict observance of social norms, there are many potential pitfalls that any foreign entrepreneur should be wary of. Here is a list of 5 important tips for those looking to do business in Sri Lanka:
Mention Denmark to most people, and they may think of Viking raiders with horned helmets, looting and pillaging their way across Europe. Others may think of one of Denmark’s more famous exports—Carlsberg beer, or the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. But of the Danes themselves they will probably know very little.
This talented, industrious people have made important contributions to European and world culture. They have created a social model that has been the envy of some and is an example to many, and are justifiably proud of their achievements. While the Danes may be difficult to get to know, they are a friendly, fair-minded, and civilized people who are most certainly worth knowing.
Here are 5 important tips and facts on Danish culture to help soften your landing.
Colombia has many jewels in its crown. It is a land of rainforests, coffee plantations, pristine beaches and bustling, vibrant metropolises. It’s greatest asset however, is the Colombians themselves. Who are the people of this culturally rich and ethnically diverse country? And more importantly, how can I break the ice, interact and connect with them while I’m there?
If you are looking for an Easter celebration with a difference, then look no further than Ayacucho, in Peru’s central highlands. To visit on Good Friday (Viernes Santo) is to take a step back in time – 2,000 years. March with Roman centurions as they escort Jesus with his cross before he is tied to it and raised above the gawping crowds on a hilltop overlooking the city.
By Justine Pineau
Canuck (/kəˈnʌk/): an affectionate or friendly slang term describing a person of Canadian nationality.
My life in Scotland began this past September, when I arrived to begin my MSc Publishing course at Edinburgh Napier University. In most cases, international students are encouraged to arrive early enough to take part in what’s called ‘Induction Week’ where they get to mingle with other students from abroad, connect with their programme directors and fellow cohorts, and learn more about the country they’ve just moved to.
However, I was unable to attend this culture-shock-transition-week due to a close friend’s wedding. In 48 hours, I went from being a bridesmaid, to flying over the Atlantic, to taking notes in my first lecture of postgraduate school. Suffice to say that the rest of September was a very busy, very exciting blur.
By John Forrest
Beaches all along the Peruvian coast come alive as dormant condominiums, restaurants, clubs and shopping centres reopen. The renewed activity starts at New Year and runs through to April. Peruvians, as with most residents of the southern hemisphere, take their main annual holiday in the first three months of the year, if they can. For many, this means spending a week, or two, at the sun-drenched coast where growing affluence from the mining boom is bringing about radical changes.
The wealthiest Limeño families, who can usually trace their lineage back to Spain, decamp to luxurious, gated developments with private beaches stretching along 30 kilometres to the south of Lima. While mothers and children enjoy several weeks at the beach, fathers remain working in Lima and visit at the weekend. Many families bring their housekeeper, who is usually of Andean origin and may have been with the family for years. Housekeepers will cook, clean and help look after the children, and some are still expected to wear a white uniform on the beach, making them easily recognisable.
By Katherine Foreman
The months leading up to my university graduation ceremony jump-started a period in my life that I’ve since thought of as the Hyperpanic Era, during which I spent a lot of time staring into space and struggling to envision my life in an office setting. I’d nearly completed a degree in journalism and was preparing to move to New York when I had an epiphany, which was simply that I was going to put Corporate America on indefinite hold and instead move to Spain. I made my decision and, without much consideration of the possible downsides, booked my spot on a Barcelona-based teaching course the same week.
“But you could move to New York! L.A.! Chicago!” my parents pressed. “You’ve just spent four years in journalism school, not studying education.” At the time, I wasn’t as concerned about the actual profession as I was about living within two miles of a beach. “It’ll all be fine,” I attempted to placate their concern, not knowing a single thing about what I was throwing myself into, or what I had to gain.
Written by Katherine Foreman
When I decided to do my third year of university in London, the thought of experiencing ‘culture shock’ didn’t cross my mind. Sure, I sat through plenty of preparation meetings as my guidance counsellor flashed around her standard U-curve diagram outlining the various stages of acclimating to a new culture, but I wasn’t paying attention. “It happens to everyone,” she iterated and reiterated as I stared blankly at the wall behind her, imagining the brown-brick flat I’d wake up to everyday in Marylebone.
It’s a commonality for students going abroad for lengthy periods of time to underestimate the extent to which they’ll be affected by changes to their environment and daily life, however subtle. It’s also vastly common, as it was in my case, for students to assume they know much more about the culture they’re entering than they do in actuality.
International Women’s Day – #BalanceforBetter
International Women’s Day is a day that has been celebrated worldwide since 1911. Campaigning for women’s rights was just the starting point; but the overall meaning of this day now extends to campaigning for equality in all aspects of life, as well as celebrating the numerous achievements made by women.
This International Women’s Day, we are celebrating and taking part by sharing a list of our most recent Culture Smart! titles that were written solely by women. These women have travelled widely, have become fluent in the foreign cultures they visited and lived in, and have helped us produce resourceful guides for those following in their footsteps. To find out more about each of the authors, you can follow the link to their author page by clicking on their names.