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30
Dec

The Presumed Cultural Similarity Paradox

As we prepare to step into the New Year, we at CAI would like to start doing something a little different with our updates. CAI prides itself on having an extensive network of top-quality intercultural instructors facilitating our cross-cultural training sessions, and we would like to take the opportunity to occasionally share their insight and …

22
Dec

Christmas & KFC: A Unique Japanese Tradition

The end of the year is finally upon us, and one of the more prominent holidays is Christmas. Typically Christmas is associated with fir trees, presents, Santa, the birth of Jesus, holiday cheer and togetherness, and fried Chicken. Oh yes, you read that correctly, fried chicken. Japan has its own special way of celebrating Christmas, …

11
Nov

All About the US Election Process

This year has certainly been one of the most dynamic political years the USA has ever seen. Though typically political talk is taboo in social culture within the USA, we’ve seen that line blurred heavily in 2016.  However, when looking at the US election and making decisions about who should lead the country, it’s of …

2
Sep

MBTI: Where to Live Based on your Personality

We all know that your personality helps define a lot about you, such as who you hang out with, what type of work you’re suited for, and the way you generally function in everyday life. But did you know it can also help you determine the most suitable places for you to live in the …

30
Jun

Canada Day: Celebrate with Red, White, and Maple

Here in the United States, where CAI is headquartered, we are gearing up to celebrate the nation’s Independence Day on July 4th.  Fireworks, family and friends, and good food will abound to recognize the time long ago, in 1776, when our nation declared its sovereign independence.  But located just north of us stands our neighbor …

24
Jun

Traveling While on Assignment: On or Off the Beaten Path

After being assigned abroad and working for some time, you might find yourself itching to venture out and explore your new surroundings. Every country has highlights and places to go, but we’ve all been there after a long day of traveling: exhausted, stressed, hungry, and just ready to sleep.  But nothing is worse than discovering …

16
Jun

Ramadan: Cleanse of the Mind, Body and Soul

Sometimes, we all need a detox. Our fast paced, plugged-in culture can leave us frazzled and out of synch with nature, personal relationships, and our inner selves. For the more than 1.5 billion adherents of Islam, a month long detox, both physical and spiritual, is an annual occurrence: Ramadan. Ramadan, the ninth month of the …

21
Apr

Multicultural Teams: Managing Transcultural Issues

It’s happening more and more every day. Multicultural teams are no longer the “hip” or “unusual” topic of international business. They are everywhere.

13
Apr

Songkran: Buddha’s New Year

Songkran – Thailand’s answer to the New Year – is celebrated with laughs, color, and a lot of water.  Based off the Buddhist and Hindu calendar, April 13th to the 15th marks a new period for everyone. Depending on where you are in Thailand, they may celebrate it a little bit differently. For example, the …

7
Apr

Reverse Culture Shock: What to Expect

Unusual sights and smells; people rushing to places unknown; new technology, and communication you don’t quite understand—and people who don’t quite understand you. This isn’t the scenario of an experience abroad, but instead of a coming home.  Returning after a time in a different country and culture can lead to feelings of isolation, confusion, malaise, …

8
Mar

Weddings Around the World: Latin America

Last time, we explored weddings in Asia, highlighting the unique ways brides dress for their special day across the continent. Today we’re taking a look at Latin America and the traditions they hold. Venezuela absorbs customs from all over, including Hispanic, African, Italian, Portuguese culture and more. By taking from these cultures, you’ll find Venezuelan …

12
Feb

Weddings Around the World: Asia

Last week we covered European wedding traditions. Spring festivals around the world are starting soon and with that comes wedding bells.  This week, let’s explore Asian wedding traditions. A common tradition in India and many other countries is the henna, or Mehndi, tattoo for the bride before the ceremony. There are slight variations amongst regions …

26
Jan

Weddings Around the World: Europe

It is about that time of year again. Soon Facebook and calendars will be filled with wedding invitations and pictures of elaborate ceremonies. Over the years, many countries have all conformed to a basic wedding structure, but many countries still maintain centuries-old traditions. This week, we look into Europe . . . German traditions start …

12
Nov

Celebrating the Festival of Light – Diwali in India

Diwali (Deepavali) is one of the biggest festivals for Hindus, celebrated with great enthusiasm and happiness all across India. The festival is celebrated for five continuous days, with the third day celebrated as the main Diwali festival or ‘Festival of Lights’.  Different colorful varieties of fireworks are always associated with the holiday. On this auspicious …

25
Aug

Asia’s Ghost Festivals

  The Ghost Festival is a traditional Buddhist and Taoist festival held in many Asian countries. Taiwan is celebrating the Ghost Festival on Friday, August 28th, though in some countries the date is different. Traditionally, locals believed that ghosts haunt the island of Taiwan for the entire seventh lunar month, when the mid-summer Ghost Festival …

6
Aug

Singapore Turns 50

Singapore is 50 years old! In just 50 years, this city-state has gone from swamp land to skyscrapers and its booming economic structure has created one of the world’s wealthiest populations. In such a short time, and without having natural resources, Singapore has become a worldwide business center that has brought many expats into the …

17
Jul

Cultural Brief: Bastille Day

This past Tuesday was Bastille Day, a French holiday celebrating the country’s independence. The French National Day is celebrated on July 14 and is celebrated to commemorate the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, which helped spark the French Revolution. This was the culmination in Paris of a violent revolution that had begun two …

9
Jul

A Cultural Adrenaline Rush: Spain’s Running of the Bulls

This week the annual Running of the Bulls took place in Pamplona, Spain. Every year from the 6th to the 14th of July the fiestas of San Fermin are celebrated in Pamplona. These fiestas are celebrated in honor of San Fermin, a patron saint of Navarra, the region of Spain where Pamplona is located. Though …