Culture Smart! Germany: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture

Ask people what the center of the household is, and you’ll get different answers. For most, it’s the living room, for some the terrace, for many the kitchen. For the Germans it’s around a table, talking. The table, be it in the living room or in the kitchen, is the place where life and communication happen. As in the home so it is outside. Germany is very much a pub culture. People go to drink and socialize in beer gardens and beer halls, where they sit around tables, sometimes as whole families, and drink and talk – and sing. It is a popular and recognized meeting point. “Stammtisch” is a word that you should learn. German pubs and beer halls often have a table that is set aside for regular clients. If you as a stranger sit at it, you may be asked politely to move because you aren’t Stammtisch – a regular at the table. In a German household you’ll know that you are really part of the furniture when, instead of relaxing in the deep, comfortable chairs of the living room, you are huddled around a table in the kitchen or living room on a hard chair, a drink in your hand, arguing about the issues of the day. Don’t be surprised if, when invited to dinner, you find yourself sitting around the table for an hour after dinner is over, happily chatting over coffee and drinks.

Culture Smart! Guides are written for people who want more than just the nuts and bolts of where to stay and what to see. They deal with the richly rewarding human dimension of travel by telling you about the beliefs and attitudes of the people you will meet, and about situations you may encounter. They help you to understand what makes people tick, the values they live by, and the kind of behavior that will be reciprocated with goodwill and hospitality. When we are able to get back out there, let’s make the most of our time abroad and enrich our understanding of the many cultures that make up our beautiful and diverse planet.

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787028845
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

Buy:

Paperback

eBook 

Audiobook

 

Culture Smart! Botswana: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture

One of the many wonders of traveling are the chance encounters, the magical moments of human connection with people who come from a different place, a different culture, and speak a different language. Reading our guides gives you the chance to make the most out of those experiences. So you can be comfortable stepping into the unknown and trying to see a place through the eyes of your hosts.

Landlocked Botswana is a country of contrasts. More than 80% is referred to as a desert – the Kalahari Desert – yet it is not a desert at all. Despite the endless distances of thorn trees and scrub, the red sand of the Kalahari contains substantial woodland and other vegetation and conceals boundless wealth in the form of coal, methane, copper, and diamonds: Botswana is the world’s biggest producer of gemstones.

There are no perennial inland rivers and no lakes, yet there is the Okavango Delta, said to be the largest inland river delta in the world.

In a world where one measure of national wealth is the time for which a country can afford foreign imports out of reserves, Botswana’s time is measured in years. It is also true that the gap between rich and poor is growing ever wider, so the visitor will encounter obvious examples of both wealth and poverty: expensive cars and big houses, excellent roads and modern buildings, yet high unemployment and rural villages with dwellings built traditionally, of natural materials, without sanitation, electricity, or water.

Culturally, the people are overwhelmingly Bantu-speaking, but they are by no means a homogeneous group, except by classification in the broadest ethnic terms. In Botswana there are more than twenty tribes and twenty different, though sometimes related, languages. In the years since independence, the country and its economy have made extraordinary strides, and Botswana is rightly seen as a model of democratic, planned development. But, for all that, traditional values lie close to the surface, often barely concealed beneath a veneer of modernity. This serves to explain the range of responses and behaviour that a visitor might encounter. Many older people are intensely conservative in outlook, while the educated young seem indistinguishable from their peers around the world: enthusiastic, bright, innovative, and utterly modern. All are kindly, welcoming, and above all, forgiving.

Our guide to Botswana introduces you to the lives of the people. It looks at the history that has shaped its society and shows the importance of traditional customs and values. It describes how Batswana live, work, and play, and how to avoid the pitfalls of cultural misunderstanding. You don’t have to wait until you travel there to dive in!

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787022560
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

Buy

Paperback

eBook

 

Culture Smart! Nepal: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture

In the popular imagination, Nepal is a land of eternal snow, where heroic mountaineers and Sherpas valiantly plant flags on the roof of the world, or perish in the attempt. And yet there is far more to discover in this country, not least the great variety of its cultural, ethnic, and religious weave.

Culture Smart! Nepal introduces you to the people who make up this vibrant human mosaic, nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. It seeks to explain the complexities of Nepali life, from the home, to the marketplace, to the office, and describes how the country’s geography and history have helped shaped contemporary society, and how religion has defined its social structures.

Whatever the reason for your visit, understanding the values, attitudes, and lifestyle of the people will help you to go beyond the friendly smiles and turn your visit into an enlightening and more rewarding experience. Namaste!

Excerpt from the guide:

“Age is not a cause for embarrassment in Nepal. Rather, it is a source of great respect. So valued is the attainment of age that it is reflected in the forms of address used when speaking even to complete strangers.

Adopting these forms of address while in Nepal will be received as a sign of respect by the person you are speaking to and express that you have taken time to familiarize yourself with the local customs, something that will greatly please your hosts.

If you perceive the person you are speaking to be older than you are, you can call them “Didi,” meaning older sister, or “Dai,” older brother. Or, if you perceive them to be younger than you, you can call them “Bhai” meaning younger brother, or “Bahini,” younger sister.

Similarly, when addressing someone of any age or gender who you want to show respect towards, you can attach the suffix “-jee” to the end of the person’s name. For example, Kiran-jee, or Chantin-jee.

Indeed, in Nepal it is the value of mutual respect that has allowed the many different ethnic, cultural, and religious communities to coexist here peacefully for centuries.”

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787028722
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

Culture Smart! Switzerland: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture

Set aside your preconceptions of postcard scenery, chocolate and cheese, faceless bankers, and spotless cities. The real Switzerland is anything but bland.

This small, rugged, landlocked country in the middle of Europe is full of surprises, among them traditional customs and festivals which vary not just region to region, but village to village. Energetic, magical, and occasionally eccentric, these customs reveal a side to the Swiss that you may never have suspected.

Culture Smart! Switzerland introduces you to the rich human dimension of this enigmatic country. It provides an historical overview, explores Swiss values and attitudes, and gives advice on how to navigate your way through various aspects of Swiss life and society. It looks at the home life of the Swiss, and describes what’s important to them, how they work, socialize, and how best to get along with them. All this will give you a starting point so that you can discover for yourself the hidden riches of this fascinating society.

For more information visit: https://culturesmartbooks.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=133

Wherever you’re traveling to, have a more meaningful and enriching experience by learning about the culture and society of the country you’re visiting.

We have guides to over 100 countries for you to choose from, including 22 brand new editions—the perfect read to dip your toe into your next destination before we can travel again.

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787028609
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

Culture Smart! Ethiopia: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture

The taking of coffee at an Ethiopian home is an unhurried, elaborate ritual.

Every woman, and many men, is practiced at roasting coffee. On special occasions, rushes are spread about the floor and decorated with flowers. The washed green beans are roasted dry in a pan over a hot brazier. When the beans crackle, the smoke is wafted toward the guests to whet their senses, and incense is burned to mingle with the smoke. When ready, the roasted beans are taken away and pounded in a mortar.

Meanwhile, water is put to boil in a clay coffee pot (jebena) and the coffee is brewed in the same pot. It is then carefully poured into twelve small cups, representing the apostles. Sugar, and occasionally salt, are added to taste. Visitors should try to accept three pourings: the first is known as abol in Amharic, the second huletegna, and the third is the blessing, known as bereka. Roasted peanuts or barley (kollo) are handed around to accompany the coffee.

Discover the Ethiopian peoples. Take an interest in Ethiopia’s culture and history, and you will be warmly welcomed by your hosts. Find out more here: https://www.culturesmartbooks.co.uk/africa/ethiopia.php

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787022645
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

Culture Smart! Vietnam: The Essential Guide to Customs and Culture

In the second half of the twentieth century, Vietnam was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. War raged. It was hard to know if it would ever end, and harder still to understand fully the rights and wrongs of the various protagonists. First, the French tried to stem the tide of Vietnamese nationalism; then the United States pitted itself against what it thought was a puny enemy, but which turned out to be tough, resilient, and ultimately victorious. The Americans might have pondered the fact that the Vietnamese had struggled, eventually successfully, for more than a thousand years to escape the clutches of their powerful neighbor, China. Patience in adversity sums up the Vietnamese character.

Since the country was reunified in 1975, the Vietnamese have undergone many hardships. The immediate postwar years were extremely harsh for many people in South Vietnam. Some fled into exile; others underwent “rehabilitation” to make them fit to live in a Communist state. To this were added economic hardships and even starvation.

Today, however, life has improved significantly. The decision to abandon one of the main tenets of Marxism, the centrally planned economy, in favor of a “socialist market economy” was a bold step, as was the decision to throw open the doors and invite the world, including former foes, to invest in the new Vietnam. As a result, the economy is one of the world’s fastest-growing.

Visitors will find a confident, independent people, nursing few if any grudges about the sufferings caused by the war. The Vietnamese people are open and friendly, with a sense of humour and irony, and frankly curious about the outside world. Kind and generally helpful towards strangers, they are industrious, determined to improve their living standards, relatively honest, but always ready to seize any advantage that might come their way.

Culture Smart! Vietnam is aimed at the visitor who would like to learn a little more about the history, culture, traditions, sensibilities, and modern way of life of the Vietnamese. It explains deep-seated attitudes and describes some of the social, economic, and cultural changes now under way. It dispels common Western misconceptions and gives practical advice on what to expect and how to behave in unfamiliar situations. Whether you are visiting on business or for pleasure, we hope it will enable you to discover for yourself the warmth and vast potential of this fascinating country and its people.

Excerpt taken from the Introduction to Culture Smart! Vietnam, written by Geoffrey Murray. Find out more:  https://www.culturesmartbooks.co.uk/asia/vietnam.php

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787028524
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

We may not be able to travel right now, but that needn’t stop us starting to explore the world again…

Japan is often thought of as a “far away” country where they do things differently, and this is indeed true. The Japanese, have, for example, a unique language not shared by any other group of people, and a unique religion – Shinto. Yet Japan is becoming increasingly “Western” in its norms, expectations, and way of life. Furthermore, Japan today participates more widely in the international arenas of sport, music, food, fashion, design, robotics, R&D collaboration, overseas aid, and “soft power” diplomacy than ever before.

However, despite this pursuit of modern living, the core values of traditional Japan – a sense of duty rather than of rights, the pursuit of harmony as an instinctive need at all levels of society, and respect for each other throughout life – not least in old age – endure. The visitor should be aware that notions of “uniqueness” also endure in the Japanese psyche. Japan is one of the most pleasant and safest countries to live in; it has one of the best medical infrastructures and enjoys the longest life expectancy in the world.

Japan functions mainly as a consensus-based society, but Japanese genius and eccentricity point to an unexpected strand of individualism. This new, updated edition of Culture Smart! Japan provides information and insights into people’s attitudes and behavior and practical advice to help you discover the brilliance and charm of this complex, rich, and dynamic society.

For more: https://culturesmartbooks.co.uk/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=95

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787028920
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 13mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

We have relaunched with 25 new titles!

Culture Smart! guides are designed to help you have a more meaningful and successful time abroad through a better understanding of the local culture.

With chapters on navigating local culture and etiquette, effective communication, and how to avoid cultural misunderstandings, our guides make sure you are a better-informed guest.

After 15 years in publication and more than 100 titles published, we are excited to announce the relaunch of CULTURE SMART!, a series of guides designed to help people have a richer and more meaningful experience abroad through a better understanding of the local culture. CULTURE SMART! guides offer a qualitative improvement to people’s experience abroad by telling readers about the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of people of different countries, so that when they arrive they are aware of local manners and sensitive issues, and are well equipped to make friends or enter into successful business relationships.

25 new editions of bestselling guides were published to mark the relaunch, with more to follow. With a new design and improved format, we aim to reach a wider audience and solidify the series’ standing as market leader of this travel category niche.

What’s New

• The updated guides have been entirely redesigned, both inside and out.

• The new design will help the series appeal to a wider audience at a time when the content covered in traditional travel guides, like restaurants and hotel listings, is readily available online for free.

• The guides remain compact and travel-sized but have 32 extra pages. The layout of this chunkier guide has allowed us to include more content, such as a section on Useful Apps, and to make use of larger images for greater impact.

• The new layout was designed to help make the book more user friendly and, due to better spacing and use of images, offers a better reading experience.
Check out our online shop to see the 25 new books available now to help you prepare for your next trip!

Deep in the Amazon: A Culture Smart! author’s Peruvian travelogue

A Peruvian Travelogue with Culture Smart! author John Forrest

The indigenous inhabitant’s of Peru’s Amazonian region number over one million today. Made up of 65 different ethnic groups and over a dozen linguistic families, there is great variety to be found in this part of the world.

While development continues throughout Peru, there still remains three areas along the border with Brazil where indigenous groups continue to live in isolation from broader society and the Western world.

One of such area is in Madre de Dios, one of the most ethnically diverse regions in the whole of Amazonia in the southern Peruvian Amazon. Here, small groups of Mashco-Piro are occasionally sighted along the Manu and Las Piedras rivers. Photographic evidence suggests that they still live as they have done traditionally for millennia.

Continue reading