Learning The Social & Cultural Norms Of A Foreign Country Before You Visit, So You Don’t Look Like A Jerk

There is little more eye-opening than traveling to another country. With just one or a few more plane rides, your surroundings suddenly change from the familiar to things you may have never experienced before – the language, the money, the architecture, the food, and – this is a biggie – the social norms.

It’s so easy to make a social faux pas when you’re in a foreign country. And yes, of course, the “locals” are going to immediately know you’re “not from there” (it’s more than going to a country where the people’s skin may be a different color than yours – I’m talking about how Americans can be identified by their dress and demeanor, just as I can point out British tourists all over Orlando without hearing them say a word) and might give you a pass if you make a social mistake (but you may wind up helping where you live to win the award for the country with worst behaved tourists). But I, for one, would rather fit in when it comes to social and cultural norms, if I can. Here are a few things you may or may not have known about how they do things in:
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And The Award For The Country With The Worst Behaved Tourists Goes To…

As much as we humans are all part of a “global community” more than ever, there are still lots of differences between us. Where you’re raised usually plays a big role in how you’re raised and therefore how you present in public, since the social norms of different areas of the world (or even of different parts of the same country) can vary greatly.

Fortunately, more and more people are able to travel nowadays. With so many differences between us, on top of the stereotypes that arise from those differences (loud, obnoxious, demanding American, anyone? [I can say that; I’m from the U.S.]), there’s bound to be some finger pointing in terms of who the worst behaved tourists are.

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International Tipping Guide – Who, What, Why, Where, When and How Much, for Anywhere In The World

Tipping. In some countries, it’s an important norm, whereas in others it’s considered an insult. Some folks tip people in certain professions whereas others don’t, and while some countries’ tipping culture suggests just a little bit of money for a tip, others’ say 20% is appropriate.

So who should you tip? And how much? And what if you’re in THIS country versus THAT country? Well, I think I’ve finally found a definitive answer. But first a little background…

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What’s Up With All The Brazilian Tour Groups At Walt Disney World? (& Some Advice About Them)

A daily part of tourism in ANY tourist area is tour groups. Whether the groups are from another state, another country or the church in the next town over, they arrive by the busload and give lots of money to the hotel and restaurant industries and, in the case of Central Florida, the theme park industry.

Although tour groups come to Orlando from a lot of places (Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Asian countries, etc), the group that tends to gather the most reactions are the ones from Brazil. Those groups tend to be kids (girls more often than boys) in their mid-teens, they travel in groups of 25 or more and tend to have the same shirts, knapsacks, etc. They speak Portuguese, which sounds a bit like a cross between Spanish and Italian, but is not exactly the same.

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