The famed old saying goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” When we interact with people of different cultures, we need to be sensitive to their cultural norms. Hence, before travelling to a new place for the first time, it is always prudent to do one’s homework well. An example that would bring about the reality of cultural sensitivity would be the way of greeting people in Western cultures and in Eastern cultures. In the West, a firm handshake with a peck on the cheek is generally the way people greet each other irrespective of gender. However, if a Westerner visits any Eastern country and does the same with a person of the opposite gender, he may stand chances of being booked for molestation!
Yes, of course times are changing and multiculturalism is the talk of the day. But, still cultural sensitivity is of utmost important.
I know of a public health consultant who travels to various African countries. Some of the countries she travels to do not permit women to dress with divided clothing (trousers or suits). She has to dress in an ankle-length skirt whenever she goes to handle a project in those countries.
It’s not always about expecting people to adapt to our mindsets and cultural upbringing. Cultural acclimatization requires sensitivity and openness towards the cultures of the people we are around.
(Image Source: HERE)