Are you considering working outside of the U.S.? It can be a rewarding experience!
Before you go, make sure you prepare yourself for cultural differences. American culture is often different than other cultures, depending on the country where you work.
Avoid awkward situations by training for work abroad. Here are five situations you might encounter that are different from American culture.
1. Your Morning Cup of Joe
Do you grab a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop on the way to work each morning? You’ll find that habit a little different around the world.
Having your morning latte on the go is one of the most well-known aspects of American culture. In many other countries, the act of having coffee is an experience.
Most often, people share a cup of coffee while sitting together with friends. It’s a daily ritual that they don’t rush to get to their next appointment.
2. Don’t Ask for It
When dining out abroad, if it’s not on the table, don’t ask for it.
With American culture today, the more condiments, the better. We ask for ketchup, ranch dressing, extra butter, salt, and more to make our restaurant dishes taste the way we expect.
In other cultures, requesting condiments can be offensive. Restaurants take pride in their dishes. Embrace the taste, avoid adding your twist to it, and you’ll quickly catch on to the restaurant experience abroad.
3. No Ice, Ice, Baby
We have no lack of ice in our American beverages. However, in many cultures, they consider ice something that waters down a perfect drink.
Depending on the country where you work, ice can also contaminate your drink. Water quality isn’t the same as what your body knows and loves here in the United States.
Forgo the ice in your drinks while out of the country. You’ll fit in, and you won’t miss it.
4. Say What You Mean
Our culture in America allows plenty of slang and alternate meanings for words. Outside of the U.S., some of our American slang can be misinterpreted.
Do your research about the language before you go. Work on your communication skills. Be aware of the words you use every day that could send the wrong message when you’re not Stateside.
5. Don’t Write the Date Wrong
We don’t mean the wrong date. In the U.S., we write the date “wrong” compared to other cultures.
Our month/day/year sequence is out of order with most of the rest of the world.
When you’re training or working abroad, get in the habit of understanding and writing the date in a different sequence: day/month/year.
American Culture Doesn’t Always Travel Well
You can be proud of the American culture, but that doesn’t mean it always travels well!
When traveling and working in other countries, it’s important to understand their culture and customs. Do your best to adapt to the things they value during your time out of the country. You can have all the ice in your drink when you get back to the States!
While you’re away, stay caught up with what’s happening here by checking out more of our articles.