15 Foreign Customs That Don’t Make Sense to Americans. Are you planning on going to another country? Well, you may want to look up the customs and habits of people that live there! We’ve all heard the saying that goes, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” The person that made up that saying really knew what they were talking about. Every culture has their own unspoken and unique set of rules that everyone follows. Those that live there know exactly why people do it, but someone that’s visiting may not.
1. Eating Salad After the Main Course
In America, we eat our salads at the beginning of a meal. In Italy, it is served after the main course just before cheese and fruit or dessert.
2. Eating With a Fork in Your Left Hand
Europeans don’t switch the fork back to the right hand after cutting a bite of steak. Even right-handed people continue to hold their forks in their left hands, why?
3. Serving Tongue for Breakfast
While most Americans can’t even imagine eating beef tongue for dinner, in Russia, you may find it offered for breakfast. Don’t like that? Perhaps you’ll want to opt for the salted herring.
4. Removing Your Shoes at Home
In Japan, Korea, and Turkey, it is customary to remove your shoes before walking into a home. You’ll often find a shoe cabinet just inside the door, which is sometimes filled with slippers.
5. Removing Your Shoes in a Store
Malaysia takes shoe removal a step further. Not only is it customary to remove your shoes at home, you’ll also leave them outside at the doctor’s office and on the second story of the store SFF.
6. Burping to Express Appreciation
If you enjoy your garam masala or tandoori chicken, you’ll want to be sure to burp loudly. While that might be considered rude in the US, it will be seen as a compliment in India.
7. Using a Squatting Toilet
Squatting toilets are common in Taiwan and Iran. They feature a bowl or pan at floor level, requiring the user to squat rather than sit.
8. Driving on the Left Side
The US may have started as 13 British colonies, but driving on the left side of the road just doesn’t feel natural!
9. Men Wearing Kilts
In Scotland, it’s not uncommon to see a man wearing a kilt. While many reserve this attire for celebrations or holidays, no one turns a head if one is worn on a regular workday.
10. Shaking Your Head for Yes
In Bulgaria, you shake your head left to right to indicate yes and up once to indicate no. Try it. If you’ve been raised in America, it will be really hard to do.
11. Reading from Right to Left
Afghanistan’s variety of the Persian language, Dari, is read right to left. This is also true of Farsi, Arabic, Aramaic, Azeri, Hebrew, Kurdish, Maldivian, and Urdu.
12. Two-cheek Social Kissing
A handshake, fist bump, or hug will usually do it in the states. However, if you venture south to Latin America, expect to be greeted with a two cheek kiss on a regular basis.
13. Formal Business Card Presentations
In Japan, a business card is considered an extension of the person. It is presented facing a certain direction and the recipient is expected to take time to read & memorize pertinent information.
14. Baby Naming Laws
If your chosen baby name is not on the German registry of accepted names, you must pay a fee and present a compelling reason for the office of vital statistics to allow it.
15. Flexible Meeting Times
Take your time getting ready when you’re invited to dinner in Brazil, because no one expects you to arrive on time. It’s considered normal to just show up whenever you are ready.