P.A.R.C. Mag Issue # 5 - Page 72

When we travel abroad we need to realize that we are entering a different country. We need to also accept that we're going to encounter different cultures, traditions, and customs. Being aware of these factors can help us to not only enjoy our trip but we'll also avoid trouble with the locals. If by chance you're traveling in the middle east and their rule of thumb is for women to cover their hair, ladies, please adhere to this rule and cover your hair. Don't resist these types of rules because what you're doing is you're more or less frowning upon their culture and values. As Americans, and as individuals in general, we can sometimes be stereotypical, uninformed, and also judgemental. It is imperative to learn about the country you would like to visit prior to traveling. Why not do a little research on customs? See what each culture entails, its traditions, and values. Although some of the rules in foreign countries may be a little unfamiliar, like no touching in public (no PDA), receiving things with both hands rather than one hand, or even bowing. As a traveler, you must learn how to adapt and leave some American habits behind.

Remember that breaking some of these rules could potentially lead to an arrest or fine. Another custom in some countries is pertaining to food and drink. If someone offers you something to eat and it's not something that you want, don't frown or make a face. If you do refuse there are more polite ways of handling the situation, a simple no thank you will do. In some countries, if you refuse a drink that's considered disrespectful so it's mindful of where you go. Learning these few tips will help to dissolve some of the stereotypes and misconceptions that we may have about a country or its people. Enjoy your travels and don't forget to do some research.