This interesting article by Shephali Bhatt highlights some of the cultural do's and don'ts but from a different perspective. She explains that "As Indians increasingly travel abroad — to both East and West, for business and pleasure — they have to navigate a minefield of manners and be mindful of local customs." Nine different examples of unique cultural challenges are provided along with a what to do suggestion on how to handle the situation.
The article reminds us of the many nuanced challenges experienced by expatriates going from one culture to another as they transfer or head off on an international assignment. Expats inevitably have feet in two cultures (sometimes more). Their ability to integrate their home-country and assignment-country cultures can impact their work effectiveness and their family's ability to handle the transition effectively.
Another article, Expats: Keeping Feet in Two Cultures, discusses how cultural competence is not a given for any expat, but that it can be developed with training and education. One of the researchers offered, "If I go abroad and simply adopt the local environment, my life is pretty easy...I can simply do what the locals do. And if I don't adopt the local environment, my life is pretty easy as well. I can just stay the way I was at home. However, when you simultaneously adapt to your new environment and stay connected to your home environment, you face more-difficult dilemmas. What is the right way to behave in this situation, given these competing demands and forces?"
Ultimately, the article encourages us to not stress too much about learning from our experiences. Usually, if effort is being made, people around the world are forgiving. "With great cultural exposure often comes great cultural confusion. In some cases, it is possible to find a way out. For everything else, you can always send a bouquet with an apology note. Just remember to keep the white flowers out."
Should you split a bill in Beijing? Should you give a tip in Tokyo? Should you say Merry Christmas in Maryland? As Indians increasingly travel abroad — to both East and West, for business and pleasure — they have to navigate a minefield of manners and be mindful of local customs. India Inc tells you what to do and lets you in on its own learnings.