A lot of amazing cultural differences can be found in the world.
We learned this when we first went to the Philippines.
Sure, we went through training to know how to adjust to and live with the differences, but you never understand how significant they are until you actually have to face them on a daily basis.
Here are some of the things we learned in the Philippines and around the world about the differences between American culture, and others:
1. If McDonald’s didn’t sell spaghetti and fried chicken in the Philippines, they would go out of business!
2. In the Philippines, don’t point with your hands or fingers, purse your lips at the object to which you are referring.
3. Australians call the trunk of a car a “boot”.
4. In many cultures, a loud belch after eating is considered a show of gratitude and satisfaction. It is not rude at all.
5. Eskimos have many different classifications and words for frozen precipitation. Their lives depend on it!
6. In many Middle Eastern and surrounding cultures, never use your left hand to eat your food or shake someone’s hand, etc. It is the “dirty” hand.
8. Also, never show the bottoms of your feet in Middle Eastern cultures. It is extremely rude.
9. The “OK” sign is considered very vulgar in some cultures, like the middle finger in the US.
10. Don’t be offended if someone says you are fat in many warm climate cultures. They are paying you a compliment for being healthy.
11. There are 8 different ways to say “no” in the Philippines, and one of them is “yes”!
12. If you show up on time to a social event in many cultures, you will have to sit and wait for an hour or more for everyone to show up. In fact, being “on time” as people in the US know it is actually being early.
There are many, many more, depending on where you are. The differences can be funny, irritating, unbelievable, hard to get used to, and so on. They show us that we can take nothing for granted, and that we must enter a culture and learn to relate to people with humility. The key thing to remember is that the cultural variances are not wrong, just different. Understanding and accepting other people and the way they see the world is a key factor in being able to share the Gospel effectively, whether you go around the world, or across the street.