When I was working for an MNC in India, we were made to undergo an ‘etiquette training’ before we traveled to a foreign client site. It didn’t mean that the company found us lacking civilized manner! Not to be confused by the nomenclature, it was an orientation for us to understand the sentiments and the social know-how of the land we were about to visit. Since each country has its own unique mindset, this orientation was a great eye-opener, quite useful when we had to interact and even live for a short term amongst the people there.
For example, it is the custom in US to hold the door and pass it to anyone who may be after you, lest it bangs onto his/her face. Also, you must greet everyone you meet, say in an elevator, with a smile or a simple “How are you?”
It is quite useful if you are familiar with the local traditions and culture of your visiting country, even on personal vacations. It always helps if you wish people or say thank you in their local language.
Additionally, if you are aware of the various types of cuisines that are popular, you have a better chance of finding suitable options for yourself. Often, Indians have to compromise greatly on food, since their taste palettes cannot handle the local flavours. At times, vegetarians find themselves relying on packed foods from home or else living on fruits etc., since they are not aware of where to get an appropriate meal. A prior research done may show you pleasant and tasty options, so you do not starve!
Then, you can always haggle better at local markets using a few local words!
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