Welcome to the first of our series of interviews with the authors of Culture Smart!. In the series we take a closer look at who our authors are, how they became conversant in a culture they were not born into, and what they’ve gained from their cultural experiences abroad.
As the series continues to grow and evolve, we now count over 100 authors as part of our team, who work with us on our mission to bridge understanding and build relations between people of different cultural backgrounds. Our authors come from all walks of life, among them diplomats, foreign journalists, NGO workers, educators and storytellers.
By Jessica Ginting
Indonesia is one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. With more than 17,000 islands spread across the archipelago, there is an abundance of destinations to visit. Each island boasts a wealth of different cultural sites, regional cuisine and traditional ceremonies that any visitor would be able to witness and even take part in. Here are 5 unique Indonesian destinations to visit and some cultural traditions and events to look out for:
On the rise for its stunning pink beaches, colour-changing lakes and prehistoric reptiles, Flores is an island that boasts a rather effortless, natural beauty. However, there are plenty of thrills to be found deeper inland as well—the Caci is a traditional warrior dance where men prove their sexual virility and engage in combat with whips made of buffalo tail leather. The performance is usually accompanied by lively drum and gong music. Certainly not for the faint hearted, the drops of blood shed in this ritual are believed to fertilize the land for the coming harvest.
We are excited to announce we’ve got two brand new titles published in the Culture Smart! series, as well as three new editions.
To celebrate our summer releases, we’re giving 30% off on all web orders using our promo code CSJUNE30. [visit our shop: www.culturesmart.co.uk/shop ]
The two brand new titles are CS Malawi and CS Zambia.. We’ve got new editions of CS Israel, Netherlands and UAE.
This week’s Wednesday Wanderlust takes us to Central Asia for a look at the values and attitudes celebrated among these nations:
- Superstitions – Ill-wishing neighbours can cause you harm by placing sand or broken needles in fornt of your house. A mullah, or any old person, can help to avert the evil eye or bad luck, cure the sick, mend a relationship, and so on, by reading a prayer in Arabic.
In an account of my relocation to Montpellier in the South of France, I tackle everything from first encounters to feminism on the other side of the Channel.
Top tip number 1 for moving abroad: When arriving alone, at midnight, with three suitcases, DO check which Hotel Ibis your reservation is at before you land.
The Balkan Peninsula takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch all the way from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea. Located in South Eastern Europe, the exact definition of the Balkans is often disputed. Nevertheless, the countries that either entirely or partially lay within its borders are diverse in their culture and attitudes. To get you started, here’s 10 key values from across the region taken straight from our guides:
Kuperard Publishing are looking for authors, both to update some existing titles and to write new books for our expanding Culture Smart! series. We’re currently looking for authors to update editions on the following countries: Cambodia, Singapore, Nepal, Indonesia, Philippines, Tunisia, Finland, Czech Republic.
Culture Smart! guides are short introductory books that aim to alert first-time visitors to the values and attitudes of different countries. They don’t duplicate the hard information given in conventional guidebooks but focus on the human dimension, on a country’s culture, so as to enable foreign visitors both to be understanding guests and to get the most out of their visit. They tell the reader how the people of the country see themselves, and why, and something of their history, their collective experience, their manners, and their private lives. They steer visitors through various situations, helping them to avoid awkward gaffes and misunderstandings.
There are over 100 titles in the series so far. We have had good reviews in The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph and The New York Times, the series has appeared on CNN’s Travel website, and has featured on BBC World’s weekly travel programme “Fast Track”. For the full list of titles, see: www.culturesmart.co.uk/destinations.
Our authors are generally, but not exclusively, native English-speakers who have lived in the subject country for some time and know it well. If you are interested, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to enquire for more details, or apply with a CV and a sample of your writing.
By Marie-Teresa Hanna
The Winter Olympics are only a few days away and this year will be held in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This is a victory for South Korea after their bids were rejected for the 2010 and 2014 games. This unique region lies 80 miles from Seoul and 50 miles from North Korea. Getting there previously was so difficult the roads were described as sheep intestines! However, due to the upcoming Winter Olympics, the government have increased funding into transport in order to make it more accessible for tourists and athletes. Over $13 billion has been spent building a bullet train and highway, including 78 bridges and 98 tunnels, improving access from Pyeongchang to Seoul. In addition to this, money has been put towards building sports facilities such as ski slopes and ice rinks. For such a hidden away gem, this destination is a massive achievement and one which is sure to spark wanderlust for all those that will watch it in the games.
Eastern Europe has some wonderful landscapes and people – here are ten cultural facts taken straight from our CultureSmart! Guides on Eastern Europe.
‘Names beginning with a first name and ending with –ian or –yan are indications of the father’s first name. Diasporans tend to use –ian, while Armenians use –yan. For example, Davidian is the son of David, and Krikorian is the son of Krikor or Gregor. Typically, first names were taken from the bible, so many last names have a religious origin.’
Exploring culture in a solo trip to Australia
By Marie-Teresa Hanna
We all have a dream destination to visit which lends itself to appeal through the culture and customs held by that country or city, people, or even the landscape or food. For me, this country was on the other side of the world – Australia. Spring of 2017, I packed up my bags and left for my first ever solo trip, hoping the advantage of speaking English would help me navigate across the country. With just over a month to spare, I travelled across Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne with brief stops at Byron Bay, Great Ocean Road and the Blue Mountains. I wanted to soak in as much culture, fresh air and sun as possible and although the entire trip was an unforgettable journey, there are few highlights which are truly worth sharing for others to experience.