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

There is so much to see and celebrate in Peru in June. Inti Raymi, in Cuzco, marks the winter solstice on June 24. It is now one of the major national festivities attracting thousands of Peruvians and foreigners to a series of events throughout June culminating on June 24 in a procession from Qoricancha palace, in the heart of Cuzco, up to the ramparts of Sacsayhuaman. Several hundred citizens dress up in fine costumes as the Inca, his attendants, and pilgrims from the suyos (quarters of the Inca empire) to enact ceremonies that include a speech by the Inca, in Quechua, to the Sun (Inti) and those present. It is possible to stand atop the ruins to view the ceremonies from a distance, but the best view is from the stands.

Dia del Padre (Father’s Day, on the third Sunday of June) is just as important as Mother’s Day in Peru and is similarly celebrated with reverence. San Pedro y San Pablo (Saints Peter and Paul, June 29) is celebrated on the coast as these are the patron saints of fishermen. Flotillas of fishing boats carry images of the saints out to sea for a “floating” service.

Qoyllur Rit’i, 50-58 days after Easter Sunday, is celebrated in a remote high Andean valley at 15,400 ft. close to Mount Ausangate 95 miles southeast of Cuzco. Once marking the reappearance of the Pleiades constellation, the festival was Christianized in 1780 after a shepherd boy had a vision of a white Christ child. The weeklong festivity is no longer a small local celebration but attracts thousands of people each year. The area’s Campesinos are still there singing, dancing, making offerings to the apus (mountain gods) and other spirits, and hacking ice from the glacier high above the valley to take home to prepare the ritual chicha beer, but they are now joined by a multitude of onlookers.

For more read our guide to Peru.

Book Details:

    • ISBN: 9781787022805
    • Format: Paperback
    • Page count: 200
    • Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
    • Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99

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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

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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

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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!

Christmas Advent Traditions Around the World

As we move through the month of December, many are celebrating the Advent countdown with the reward of a chocolate every morning. While this relatively recent tradition of daily treats is certainly a wonderful one, the history and culture of the Advent goes far beyond this.

The word Advent means ‘coming’ or ‘arrival’ in Latin and refers to the arrival of Jesus at Christmas. Since its origin, various Christian countries have developed their own traditions and celebrations for this time of year:

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The Unavoidable Reality of Culture Shock—And Why It’s a Good Thing

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.

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5 Tips on Being a Good Guest in Laos

Hello Travellers,

To mark the publication of our brand new Culture Smart! Laos guide we have put together a short list of tips on how to be a good guest when visiting this beautiful and fascinating country. Visiting foreign countries can be a cultural minefield, and though many may be forgiving of visitors who don’t know better, we believe that a little practical cultural knowledge will not only impress your hosts, but will also help you to have a more meaningful and enriching experience. Enjoy!

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How to bring in the New Year, Nicaragua style

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!

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Discover Rwanda: A Mini Guide to Rwandan Customs and Culture

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.

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