Be a respectful guest when in a foreign country

Illustration+by+Mary+Fant
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Be a respectful guest when in a foreign country

Illustration by Mary Fant

Illustration by Mary Fant

Illustration by Mary Fant

Illustration by Mary Fant

By Brenna Campanaro, Arts & Culture Editor

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When being a guest in someone’s home, there is a level of respect that is automatically placed. When being a guest in someone’s country, that is raised to an even higher standing. In countries like China, Japan, Africa and the United Arab Emirates, the respect of a tourist is important. Many countries’ cultures influence their everyday actions, views and ideas, which means that it is important to understand their values and be aware of your surroundings when traveling to other countries.

Tourism is very widespread in these countries because of their known traditions. However, many tourists travel without knowing that it can be disrespectful if they don’t follow these rules and traditions as well.

In Chinese culture, table manners have a major cultural difference from most areas in the states. This includes the use of chopsticks. Licking your chopsticks or using them to point towards someone or something is a hard no at the kitchen table.

Also if you stick your chopsticks straight up in rice, it is a reference to the dead. Passing food to someone using your own chopsticks refers to when people pass the bones of their dead loved ones at funerals as well. It’s essential to have good table manners in the Chinese heritage because it is thought to bring good health and fortune.

When traveling, it is important to have a good pair of shoes because there are many germs that can spread easily. However, when traveling to Japan, “outdoor” shoes are seen as unclean when they are indoors. Because of this, wearing shoes indoors is not allowed. Depending on the place, there will most likely be some type of slipper to wear, rather than the regular “outdoor” shoes.

To go along with wearing slippers, in Japan it is custom that in some places instead of sitting on a chair, you sit on the traditional Tatami mat. Tatami mats can be located in restaurants, homes, Ryokan hotels, some temples and shrines and even some schools and hospitals.

In Japan, blowing your nose in public is considered to be uncivilized or uncultured. It is best to go into a bathroom or a private area to blow your nose. Many people also wear face masks in public to protect themselves from the spread of germs and sickness.

Dubai is located in the United Arab Emirates and is known for its avant-garde architectures and having a luxurious night scene. Dubai may seem like a free city with its innovative and ultramodern activities, but it’s not like that when living there or even just visiting. There are very strict rules on public display of affection, otherwise known as PDA. If there are any other fervent actions other than a hug or a kiss on the cheek, there could be the possibility of getting arrested.

Dubai also takes being properly dressed very seriously. It is boastful and disrespectful to have plenty of skin showing. Women are told to wear longer dresses or high cut shirts. If tourists are wearing spaghetti strap tank tops or have their shoulders out too much, they should carry a shawl or an easy piece of clothing to cover themselves up with.

Female tourists also do not have to wear a hijab or cover their hair, unless entering a religious venue. Men should also wear long pants rather than shorts so it doesn’t look like they are wearing underwear.

It is extremely important that women who are traveling alone wear a wedding ring. This is to ensure them being “less available” and will give them less attention. It will be much safer for female tourists to make themselves seem less available so that men will not be so attracted to them.

In African culture, it is exceptionally important to be subservient and polite towards adults and elders. Elders are to get served first when dining. Tourists are to introduce themselves with a confident “hello” and are to remain humble at all times in most situations. There is so much respect that is shown through the actions of people’s hands as well. With being a tourist, it is best to avoid pointing with your index finger. Instead of using your index finger, use your chin or elbow.

Many places around the world base their everyday lives on the traditions that have been set from past ancestors. Respecting cultural differences when traveling needs to be addressed. Tourists are stepping into a native’s community, in this community, their culture is what brings them together.

Assimilating with fascinating and different heritages is a cool way to learn more about what the world is made of. Culture diversity is what makes this world go round and without it, there would be no great integration of diverse people.