Cultural Differences Essay

1101 WordsOct 13, 20125 Pages
CULTURAL DIFFERENCES Even though some cultural differences have been vanishing in the past few years, there are still a few basic cultural things we may want to know about other cultures, especially if we like to travel internationally. Statistics show that only about ¼ of the U.S. citizens have passports, which tells us that Americans don’t like to travel to other countries as much as people do in the U.K. and other European countries where it is usual that more than half of their population have passports and travel visas. Living in the United States we come across people from various parts of the globe, therefore the importance of knowing at least some basic cultural traditions or body languages and expressions to avoid some embarrassing moments, especially during a public speech or presentation. Some knowledge of cultural customs can help avoid misunderstandings. Generalizing and stereotyping are two different things and they are not to be confused. A generalization is a statement about common trends within a group, but with the recognition that further information is needed to ascertain whether the generalization applies to a particular person. E.g., you meet Mexican woman named Maria and assume that she has a large family; that is stereotyping. But if you say to yourself “Mexicans have large families” and you wonder if Maria does; that would be generalizing. A stereotype is an ending point, and no effort needs to be made to ascertain whether it is appropriate to apply it to a person. Paying attention to customs and cultural differences can give someone outside that culture a better chance of assimilation or acceptance. Ignoring these can get an unsuspecting person into trouble. Much of the differences in culture have to do with food preparation, music, and what each culture considers politeness. In Russia people are very polite and it is very common to see a

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