About the importance of knowing foreign culture, customs and traditions
Миронова П. В., Тумакова Н. А. About the importance of knowing foreign culture, customs and traditions // Молодой ученый. 2015. №10. С. 1229-1231.
Ключевые слова: international company, graduate, foreign culture, customs, tradition, behavior peculiarity, etiquette rules.
Everybody knows that when you graduate from university, in particular from National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, it is possible to find a well-paid and interesting job not only in Russian Federation but also far away from it. Every year the number of graduates, who apply for a job in perspective and highly developed international companies, enterprises, firms is constantly increasing.
Institute of Non-Destructive Testing provides specialists who are needed everywhere: from western countries to the coast of the Japanese sea. Certified specialists who get TPU diplomas are employed in Japanese, American, German, Czech, Chinese and other companies and successfully develop different types of equipment.
However, being a perfect specialist in technical occupation is not enough. It’s important to know culture and manners of the country which a graduate chooses to work in or to live in. Each country has its one peculiarities, behavior rules, customs and traditions [1, c. 395].
For example if you go to Asian countries, for example to Japan, you should thoroughly control your emotions [5. C. 22].
Don’t lose your temper communicating with a Japanese partner. Kindness, sociability and honesty, — precisely these qualities are highly valued by Japanese people.
Nodding does not always mean a sign of agreement; in Japan it means that a partner has understood you.
When in a business conversation a Japanese businessman says: “It’s difficult now”, be sure that you’ll get a rejection.
Handshakes are not accepted. Permanent smile even in an unusual situation can confuse foreigners.
A great meaning plays table serving. Before having a meal you should wipe your face and hands with an “osibori” napkin. Even during a meal, Japanese serve dishes on Feng Shui. Cutlery sets are divided into “male” and “female” ones. During a meal you shouldn’t wave your sticks because it can be considered as a sign of bad manners.
Asian people seem to be quite reserved and not talkative. Comparing, for example, Japanese customs, culture and traditions and, American ones, it should be noticed that Americans seem to be different from Japanese people, for example, because individual behavior in which a certain culture appears will never coincide completely . Behavior actions can have different meanings in different cultures.
Let’s consider American everyday behavior. Hissing in the United States of America expresses disapproval but not a request to keep silence. Whistle at sport competitions or at political meetings means approval. When communicating, Americans try to keep approximately a hand distance.
Handshake in the USA is more traditional for official occasions and it’s like a greeting when you get acquainted with a person. While introducing to a woman it’s polite to nod and in case she gives you a hand — exchange handshakes. When introducing to a man you should make some steps towards him and he should do the same. But if somebody decides to shake your hand it’s necessary to meet halfway and to say something like “Please to meet you” .
When kissing, it means the sign of greeting or farewell (usually an older woman is kissed). In American culture it’s accepted to kiss and give a warm hug only to the family members and very close friends.
Men take off their hats when entering a lift, a church, a restaurant, in private houses, institutions. In the lift of a living house or a hotel a man takes off his hat when a woman enters and put it on in the corridor. Corridor is considered like a street, and a lift is like a room in a house, where the presence of a woman obliges you to take the hat off — it means that you’re polite and know the etiquette rules.
If a guest stays for a night or for a weekend at a house, when leaving it’s considered polite to send an owner a “bread-and-butter letter” and a small gift or a present like a box of chocolates or flowers.
When dining, it’s rude to leave spoons in soup plates or in coffee cups.
In American everyday behavior it’s not consider abusive or rude to do the following things:
- to communicate with somebody keeping the legs on the table or on the chair arm;
- to talk to a woman keeping hands in pockets;
- to communicate with somebody, including a woman, to keep a cigarette or a pipe in a mouth
As for superstitions and superstition beliefs Americans think that one cannot whistle inside a house and on the ship board. Many people believe that making fire, washing hands in one basin or think, wiping hands of one and the same towel will lead to a quarrel between friends.
As for Russian people, stepping on the foot of a person (a friend, a relative, a girlfriend or a boyfriend) can lead to a quarrel too.
To avoid “evil eye” it’s necessary to knock on wood three times to avoid the misfortune which was mentioned before.
It’s widely spread and considered that some things have a magic power, for example a horse shoe or a rabbit’s foot. They are worn to be lucky and as a charm. Very often Americans use a horse shoe like an amulet. It is nailed above the front door its end up so that happiness can’t fall and be lost. You shouldn’t part with your lucky penny according to American beliefs.
A curved or a holed coin is considered the luckiest one. If you present a notebook it’s great to put a coin inside its pages for “luck”- both for sender and for a receiver. In Russia to put a coin inside a new and empty wallet is a good sign while it’s not accepted to present an empty wallet or a purse.
To be ensured from car accident, American drivers hang baby shoes inside the car. Students think that an old tie will bring luck at an exam. Buckeye which is worn as a talisman can not only bring happiness but can release a person of a headache.
Farmers think that red maize cobs have the power of bringing happiness and they should be saved to the next harvest. Also a maize cob with seven or fourteen corn rows can bring a great harvest to an American farmer.
A person or a thing on a ship board is called “a Jonah” .
Falling star is considered in American culture to be a bad sign, meanwhile if a person manages to pronounce the word “money” three times before the star disappearance, it will bring happiness. A rainbow is a good omen.
At the same time a falling star in Russian beliefs means luck, especially when a person, who saw the falling star, managed to make a wish.
There exists a system of beliefs connected with precious and semi-precious stones among Americans. It’s very necessary for an American to wear a birthstone for luck. In Russia there is a same belief: a person becomes stronger, happier and luckier if he (or she) wears a stone that suits his or her birthday.
A certain presents for wedding anniversaries exist both in Russian and American beliefs. There exist weddings of different types that symbolize the time period living together for a wedding couple: a paper wedding, a cotton wedding, a linen wedding, a wooden wedding, an iron wedding, a bronze wedding, a leather wedding, a silver wedding, a gold wedding, a diamond wedding and some other ones.
When a person sneezes three times at once it’s considered to be a good sign in America. When Russian person sneezes for the first time he (or she) is said “Have a good health!”. In case of sneezing for the second time a funny “Grow up” is said to a sneezer. And when a person sneezes for the third time people just smile.
If Russian people and Americans hear a sound in the right ear it means good news, if happens with a left one — wait bad news.
Some numbers both in Russian and in American culture are considered to be unlucky. Especially Friday 13 can bring misfortune to an American. In Russia some people believe in a magic power of the number 13, but some of them don’t pay too much attention to it and consider 13 just one number, a usual one, like all other existing numbers.
There exist some beliefs of a household character in the United States of America. For example if the left palm of an American itches it means that a person loses money. It can be avoided in case of itching the palm on the tree. In Russia if the left palm itches it means that soon this person will get money, but if the person scratches his or her right palm, it means that soon the person will shake hands with a friend, a relative, a business partner or with another person.
Russian and Americans have some common things when entering a new house (a housewarming is meant) it’s good to bring some bread and a pinch of salt. Bread symbolizes prosperity and salt on the plate is a symbol of happiness. A housewarming party with invitation of friends bringing gifts provides happiness in the family’s house.
When just married leave the wedding institution in America it’s accepted to bend a shoe or a boot to their baggage.
As for gestures in American and Russian they differ completely or partly. For example a “Good bye” gesture has great difference in Russian and English communication: traditionally Russian gesture is the movement of a palm up and down whereas in the American communication it’s the movement of a palm from one side to another on the head level.
There are some typically American gestures:
- a right thumb held up means a taxi invitation
- a right hand raised on the shoulder or a head level means invitation of a waiter in a restaurant;
- a pointer finger bended several times also means invitation of a waiter in a restaurant;
- a pointer finger and a thumb joined together and symbolizing the “O” letter mean that everything is great, everything is ok!
- the victory “V” sign can be demonstrated in streets, at stadiums and in other public places. A pointer finger and a middle finger of the right hand sphered together getting the form of the letter “V”. It’s very important to have a palm pointed forward otherwise an abusive and dirty gesture will be shown. It’s also necessary to take into account that a little finger, a ring finger and a thumb are gathered together to a palm center [3; 4].
It’s also important to follow etiquette rules in any country, to be polite, kind and ready to help anyone if it is needed. All these actions will characterize a person as a well-brought one and it’s not important what a person’s nationality is. The main thing is to be a real person.
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