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Posts tagged ‘cultural differences’

Feeling At Ease in Ireland

As my second month in Ireland begins to unfold, I can finally begin to say that Dublin is starting to feel comfortable and more like home.   When I embarked on this journey a little more than a month ago, I understood I would experience many cultural differences; however, I was pleasantly surprised to find that these cultural similarities and differences have affected my time in Ireland in a very positive manner! Read more

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Differences to Embrace

When traveling to any foreign country, one of the most common things for travelers to consciously pick up on are the typical cultural habits of the people of their new country. This can often lead to culture shock, with people becoming frustrated with how things are done, either because of a lack of understanding, having adapted to a particular way of going about things, and being wary of change, or maybe there are legitimate reasons from time to time for such frustrations to occur. Read more

Dare to Wear Shorts


“Howzit?”

This is the most common greeting I’ve heard here in South Africa, short for “how is it?” It is said in passing to strangers, to friends, texted, scrawled on bathroom walls. Often it is followed by, what’s your name, where are you from, what year are you? And, much to my surprise, “Can I visit you at your residence?”

Call me crazy, but I’m not comfortable having someone whose name I barely know over to my room. But that’s just a cultural difference – while Americans enjoy and guard their privacy, South Africans are much more willing to open their homes to anyone. I’ve seen this in other situations as well; after only half an hour of talking to the manager of a local restaurant, she invited us to her home and was planning weekend trips for us, volunteering her son as our tour guide. Read more

Cultural Differences: Positives & Negatives

This is “grandma’s brother” at a cultural excursion to a village that teaches people about traditions of villages in Botswana.

Dumela! I have already been in Botswana for almost two months now and I am so excited for the next few months to come. Although I feel like I will never be able to fully understand everything about the culture and Motswana people, I have learned such a great deal so far. The first most basic and obvious cultural difference is the food. I was hoping to come and and have the best food of my life and want to bring back different spices so I could make the food at home.. that is not happening at all. Most of the food here I do not like, especially at the refractory (Mogul) which is where I have my meal plan. They serve the same thing every day for lunch and dinner. Usually it is something like: pap (a traditional porridge like stable made from maize) or rice, then you choose chicken or beef (prepared the same way every day) and then carrots or a beat salad. Sometimes they have a couple different things, like some people eat fish from the special diet section but I dont like fish, or sometimes they have dumplings instead of pap which is a boiled bread, that I love. The other international students and I love going out to eat when we can afford to, there are so many placed to eat that serve delicious food from all different cultures, including a lot of American food. Read more

Know Before You Go

This is an oldy, but a goody!

For the students who are about to take off soon, here are 5 things to know before you go. For more advice also check out our YouTube page too!

1) Electricity – remember that many countries run on a different voltage than the US. If you’re bringing small appliances like hairdryers, etc, you may need to consider getting a voltage converter so that you don’t short out your appliance, or short-out a fuse in your accommodations. Alternatively, you could invest in a hair dryer once you arrive.

2) Jet lag – there are many theories for getting over the first few days of sluggishness upon arrival. A tried and true method is quite simple – change you watch/cell phone/computer clocks to local time as soon as you arrive so you’re not always thinking about what time you think it should be. During the day, stay awake, and get outside. The sun will actually help you get over jet lag. Drink plenty of water and avoid too much caffeine.

3) Foods – of course there will be new foods that you’ve never had at home, but what about those foods that you may miss? At interstudy, we all agreed that we missed peanut butter while abroad. If you’re an addict (like us!), think about throwing a jar in your suitcase, or adding it too a “care package” list from friends or family.

4) Same things, new names – Looking for a Diet Coke? Try looking for Coca-Cola Light instead. It’s the same thing, just a different name. What other products do you find with different names?

5) School supplies – for the most part, it may be hard to find your typical college-ruled, spiral bound notebook while abroad. Many countries just having notebooks with graphing paper instead.

Past students, what would you add to this list? Reply in the comments!

5 Things to Know Before You Go

I dug up some advice that we brainstormed earlier this year. For the students who are about to take off soon, here are 5 things to know before you go. For more advice also check out our YouTube page too!

1) Electricity – remember that many countries run on a different voltage than the US. If you’re bringing small appliances like hairdryers, etc, you may need to consider getting a voltage converter so that you don’t short out your appliance, or short-out a fuse in your accommodations. Alternatively, you could invest in a hair dryer once you arrive.
2) Jet lag – there are many theories for getting over the first few days of sluggishness upon arrival. A tried and true method is quite simple – change you watch/cell phone/computer clocks to local time as soon as you arrive so you’re not always thinking about what time you think it should be. During the day, stay awake, and get outside. The sun will actually help you get over jet lag. Drinks plenty of water and avoid too much caffeine.
3) Foods – of course there will be new foods that you’ve never had at home, but what about those foods that you may miss? At interstudy, we all agreed that we missed peanut butter while abroad. If you’re an addict (like us!), think about throwing a jar in your suitcase, or adding it too a “care package” list from friends or family.
4) Same things, new names – Looking for a Diet Coke? Try looking for Coca-Cola Light instead. It’s the same thing, just a different name. What other products do you find with different names?
5) School supplies – for the most part, it may be hard to find your typical college-ruled, spiral bound notebook while abroad. Many countries just having notebooks with graphing paper instead.

Past students, what would you add to this list? Reply in the comments!