When in rome, do as the romans do

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  • Publicado : 14 de junio de 2010
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Essay: “When In Rome, Do as the Romans Do”
By:

“A proverb is a short, generally known sentence of the folk
which contains wisdom, truth, morals, and traditional views
in a metaphorical, fixed and memorizable form and which
is handed down from generation to generation.”
Wolfgang Mieder.

Social customs vary from culture to culture, so it's virtually impossible for me to construct alist of social guidelines that works all over the globe. You can figure what behavior is and isn't appropriate in your new home by observing local students in your neighborhood, classes, or other places.
You don't need to change your entire personality and identity to fit in while abroad. In general, if you are friendly, respectful, and courteous, you'll do just fine. Remember you're a sort of guestin your host country, so you should get by if you act as though you're a guest in someone else's home.
It's fine to politely ask questions about local customs and ways of behaving. Most people appreciate that you are trying to learn about their culture and lifestyle and are willing to help you adjust.
You may be afraid to use the native language because you're not completely comfortable withit; maybe you hesitate when putting together sentences, stumble using the correct tense, or often pause to determine the correct vocabulary. Most people are flattered by your attempts to use their native language and may even help you out by correcting your sentences!
Try to avoid using slang expressions you learned before your arrival because slang expressions are unique to a particular culture.You may have learned English that is frequently used in USA, but you could be studying in Canada, so the idiomatic expressions you know could be meaningless or inappropriate in Canada. Any slang expressions that you learn in your host country should be okay. Also, know whether you should use the "familiar" or "formal" forms of address.
Ecuadorians have a fairly open and sharing culture. It is notdifficult or out of the ordinary for us to talk about ourselves. However, in other countries, talking about oneself may be considered rude, as could asking personal questions. It is best to let your host lead the conversation when engaging in "small talk." On the other hand, don't be offended if natives from your host country ask questions that are considered rude or strange in Ecuador. You maybe asked how much money your father makes, which president you voted for in the last election, whether you own a gun, or how much your parents paid for their house. These kinds of questions are considered normal in some cultures.
Try to avoid offending people as much as possible, if only so that you don't get classified as an arrogant Ecuadorian who thinks everyone must agree with Ecuador or withyou personally.
Always strive to be as polite as possible. That way, no one can ever fault you for not being polite enough. Remember many cultures have more formal social customs than Ecuador does, so spend more time on social niceties than you may at home. For example, be ready to offer a formal word of greeting to whomever you meet on campus, on the street, or in stores. Familiarize yourselfwith the appropriate expressions of gratitude in response to hospitality.
Ever seen the late night British comedies on PBS and wondered at the rather dry, witty British humor? Every country has a different sense of humor. In fact, many will not appreciate our jokes. Some cultures are quite literal and frequently misconstrue comments that we intend as humorous.
You are going to want to documentyour time abroad with a camera. But be careful about including random people on the street or who just happen to be in front of a monument or building in your photos. The people you snap pictures of are human beings and not creatures in a zoo! Use tact and discretion in photographing strangers; it is always a good idea to politely ask permission before taking someone's picture.
In some cultures,...
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