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The Importance of Understanding Cultural Characteristics

The Earth can be compared with a huge apartment and multi-story house, in which a variety of neighbours live, with their habits and customs – in other words, representatives of different peoples. Look at the ethnic composition of almost any city globally, then among its population. You can meet representatives of indigenous peoples and numerous diasporas of other nationalities. They all live in the same house, and they should all live peacefully. Without knowing the essential features of their culture and lifestyle, you can easily cause hostility and even hostility towards yourself. Therefore, it is necessary to be correct about the customs and beliefs of other peoples, not to provoke a conflict situation.

In Canada, intercultural relations are critical because Canada is the most interethnic country. Every year, many immigrants, tourists, students, and refugees come to Canada. Understanding the cultural characteristics of different nationalities helps create and maintain positive ties with representatives of the local community and become a part of it.

Arriving in Canada, and in general, it is necessary to respect local social norms in any other country. You may not even realize how much the cultural norms of your home country are written into your life and how much they determine your habits. Only when they are violated, do you notice it? For example, it is customary to smile in Canada, apologize, and greet passers-by. And if you come to China or Vietnam, it will be strange and unusual for you that people do not protect their personal space and may stand too close to each other in a queue or public transport. During your stay in another country, you will have to get acquainted with local norms and start treating your own easier if they are violated. Before you get angry or offended that someone pointed the finger at you, read about the country, its cultural characteristics, and communication rules. Perhaps you will understand why people around you behave this way and not otherwise, and you will feel like a researcher of a new culture and not a stranger.

However, do not forget about your historical background. Being in another country, you will inevitably face the fact that you will be perceived as representing the whole country from which you came. To be more tolerant of this situation, study your history and the history of the relationship of your native country with the area where you are staying. The two states may be linked by close and contradictory political relations in the past or present. Even though you have nothing to do with your country’s historical past or its political present, you should develop your position on these issues, be ready to discuss them, smooth out conflict situations, and comment on common stereotypes about your country. Readiness for an open dialogue will help both you and representatives of the local population form a respectful attitude towards each other and understand that a person from another culture is the same as everyone else and not a set of stereotypes and news headlines. If you are a visitor to another country, do not forget that you are a guest. We all tend to believe that the customs generally accepted in our culture are the only true ones. Living abroad will undoubtedly show you that there are other ways, options, opportunities, and views on literally everything. This is one of the most valuable realizations you can take from an extended stay in another country. It is essential to be open to everything new for it to happen. It is necessary to be a guest who looks at everything around without condemnation but gratitude for being accepted here.

Also, knowing and honouring the traditions of other people will protect you from misunderstandings and possible conflicts. If you plan to travel and the countries below are included in your list, you need to know their rules and traditions better. Don’t leave a tip in Japan! In the Land of the Rising Sun, leaving an end to the service staff is considered an insult. The Japanese believe that everyone should do their job efficiently and without additional remuneration. Don’t try to copy the Irish accent! The Irish are a very independent and patriotic people, so if their pronunciation seems funny and even beautiful to you, you should not copy it. Do not greet the Greeks with an open palm! Open palm signs are considered an insult in Greece. Don’t pat children on the head in Buddhist countries! These people consider the head a sacred place, so you can’t touch it. These examples show that to avoid misunderstandings, it is necessary to study the cultures of other countries.

How can you help foreigners who do not understand your cultural peculiarities? First, try to be patient with accents of other nationalities. Yes, it is often difficult to understand what a person is trying to convey, so ask again if you do not understand. Secondly, if you see that a foreigner violates the social norms accepted in your country, do not be afraid to correct him and tell him about his mistake. Being in another country is not easy; as a poet, a foreigner will be grateful to you for help in understanding culture. Also, ask him about the culture of the country he comes from. This will help you better understand his actions and learn about the customs and culture of other countries!

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