Welcome to the third in our series of interviews with the authors of Culture Smart!, where 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.
New Year’s Eve parties in Nicaragua are by no means mild affairs. Indeed, the celebrations are two-fold – both to welcome in the new year, and to bid farewell to the old one. Whatever the previous year might have thrown at you, for all its ups and downs, a celebration is in order, for here comes another! To mark the publication of our upcoming Culture Smart! Nicaragua, here’s how to bring in the new year, Nicaragua style. Receive 25% off the RRP in January with our CSNEW25 discount code here!
It is fair to say that Rwanda is not currently a top travel destination. The country’s tourism industry has had a fair bit of catching up to do, but with its history firmly behind it, Rwanda is quietly earning a name for itself — and for very good reason. The “Land of a Hundred Hills” offers an astonishing range of stunning landscapes and an abundance of natural beauty, making the country an exciting destination for those who like to explore off the beaten track.
This Southeast Asian gem is often overshadowed by its neighbours Thailand and Vietnam, particularly when it comes to cuisine. Vietnamese pho and Thai tom yum are two iconic dishes that spring to mind, while Laos doesn’t have dishes to its name quite as well known. Indeed, Laotian cuisine is a very much a well-kept secret, and one you are sure to miss upon your return.
Travelling abroad can be an exciting and memorable experience. It can also be incredibly daunting, with a lot of unknowns and new situations to contend with. This is especially the case when visiting a country like China, where the culture is so different from that of Western countries.
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.
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.’
Home to some of the best beers in the world, Central Europe is one of the most culturally rich regions to explore. Check out these 10 values and attitudes straight from our guides!
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- It is the reserved nature of the Czechs that visitors may notice at first, however emotion in speech is hard to gauge as Czechs speak in low tones and with a minimum of inflection.
- Czech has fewer names considered to be “acceptable”. Parents must submit the names they are planning to give to their child to a sort of ‘name police’ – a government bureaucrat – to determine whether the name is suitable. So you’ll probably meet more than one Petra, Jans, Zdeněk or Palvas. Czechs also do not use middle names so finding the proper for example; Radek Dolezal will be a challenge!