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Blog

20
May

Kids & Culture: End of School Celebrations in Eastern Europe and Russia

As schools across the USA prepare for the summer break, schools in several Eastern European nations and Russia are also celebrating end of year festivities. The end of year celebration is known as последний звонок (posledni svonok) or last bell. Traditionally during this ceremony, boys wear suits or formal attire, while girls wear the traditional school …

Three men on a bench with newspapers.
8
May

Tricks for Mastering a Foreign Language

Most people would agree that one of the most visible elements of culture is language.  Language barriers can be a major hurdle for expats taking on new assignments and for companies working with overseas partners and customers.  In either of these situations, mastery of a common language is often the first thing people notice.  For expats, …

Man looking down a canal.
17
Apr

Personality Traits Critical to Expat Success

  The majority of expats face difficulties in their new surroundings. A recent poll shows that the top three personality traits that lead to successful expat assignments are: flexibility, sense of humor, and resiliency. While some of these characteristics may seem obvious, putting them into practice can be challenging. Flexibility is needed when dealing with …

Boxes wrapped in US and UK flags on a shelf.
1
Apr

Language Differences between British and American English

Culture may seem like a very visual concept, with emphasis often put on clothing, food, or historical landmarks, but culture goes much deeper than this. One way culture breaks through the barrier into the intangible is through language. Because the United States of America and England both speak English, many would assume that the cultures …

Cake with birthday candles.
27
Mar

How Do You Celebrate Birthdays?

When US Americans think of birthday celebrations, images of parties, cake, blowing out candles, and the Happy Birthday song comes to mind. For a baby’s first birthday, some parents will even get the birthday child a smash cake, which the baby with play with, and hopefully eat, smashing it to pieces in the process.  However, …

Table of offerings.
20
Mar

Persian New Year

Persian New Year (Nowruz) is upon us.  Today, March 20th, Persians will celebrate the New Year. Nowruz marks the first day of spring, the equinox, and the beginning of the year in the Persian calendar. Nowruz is celebrated by many different ethnic communities and religious backgrounds. Though it is a secular holiday, Zoroastrians hold it …

An array of breakfast food.
13
Mar

Breakfast Around the World

Experts say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Your first meal provides the nutrients and energy needed to start your day and function earlier in the morning. When traveling or moving abroad, it is important to realize that common breakfast foods in your host country may be greatly different than what …

Fancy table.
26
Feb

China’s Newest Status Symbol

A recent article from BBC pointed out one of China’s latest social problems: etiquette. China has become one of the most powerful countries in the world. In a 30 year span, the country has moved from an isolated state to a powerhouse requiring more interaction with other cultures. China has also gained an incredible amount …

19
Feb

Cricket World Cup 2015

Cricket is a widely popular sport mostly associated with the UK and countries that were at some point under British rule.  This year, the Cricket World Cup includes some unlikely teams.  Afghanistan for one, a team made up of Afghanis and Pakistanis, made its debut onto the world stage this year.  While their fight is …

snowman
28
Jan

Do You Want to Build a Snowman?

With “snowpocalypse” and snowstorm Juno wrapping up in the Northeastern US, people are finding creative uses for their snow. Many build snowmen or form ramps to go sledding, skiing, or snowboarding on, or simply use the snow as an extra cooler and place anything from meat to alcohol in the packed snow. Around the world, people …

Plates on a table.
22
Jan

Fasting Around the World

It is almost February, which means that Mardi Gras is just around the corner!  After all the Mardi Gras festivities, the season of Lent will begin, and many around the world will adjust their normal diet for religious reasons.  During the season of Lent, Christians, specifically, Catholics, give up a certain food or practice fasting.  …

Person with suitcase faces horizon.
14
Jan

Repatriation: Common Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Everyone expects expats to have an adjustment period when moving to a new host country, but what about when they return home?  Most expatriates underestimate the potential challenges to readjusting to life in their home country after an international assignment.  However, studies have shown that repatriation is often the most challenging phase of an expatriate …

Books on a bookshelf
7
Jan

“Culture” is 2014’s Word of the Year

Cul•ture noun ˈkəl-chər : the beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, place, or time : a particular society that has its own beliefs, ways of life, art, etc. : a way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business) Last month, dictionary giant Merriam-Webster …

Sweden
23
Dec

Holiday Traditions Around the World: Part 3 – Sweden

In our last installment of Holiday Traditions Around the World, we will uncover traditions of the St. Lucia holiday in Sweden.  We at Cultural Awareness International thank you for following this series and wish you and yours a very happy holiday season! St. Lucia’s Day in Sweden The Swedish Christmas season begins each year with …

Schoolgirls huddled and laughing.
17
Dec

Holiday Traditions Around the World: Part 2 – Ethiopia

Timkat in Ethiopia Each January, the remote city of Gondar is inundated with pilgrims during the religious festival of Timkat, the Ethiopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. One of the most important holidays of the year, Timkat is a two-day festival beginning on January 19th that celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River. On …

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