Behind the Pen ∘ Colombia

To accompany our new releases we’re returning to our Behind the Pen 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.
Meet Kate Cathey – a writer and anthropologist. Born in the USA, she attended Sarah Lawrence College in New York, where she studied Art History, and later the University of California, from which she graduated with a BA in World Arts and Cultures, concentration in Anthropology. Since then, she has traveled extensively in Latin America, researching and writing about regional cultural and culinary traditions.

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Behind the Pen ∘ Sri Lanka

To accompany our new releases we’re returning to our Behind the Pen 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.

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How to Meet & Greet like a local in Singapore

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:

Etiquette

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).

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5 Tips for Doing Business in Sri Lanka

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:

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5 Tips and Facts on Danish Culture – In the Home and Out & About.

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.

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A Canuck in the Land of Kilts

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.

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A Sunny Break on the Playas of Peru

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.

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Teaching English Abroad – Why It’s Infinitely More Than a Gap Year Job

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.

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