A few days ago I had a very stimulating conversation with a group of friends, each one sharing their account of recent travel abroad. While talking about Prague and Budapest evoked great memories, it was the story about cultural shock on a trip to India that had me fascinated. Was it not for the fact that I know the couple that had this experience very well, I could’ve dismissed their approach to Indian culture as narrow-minded. But they were very articulate to explain how even with the best of attitudes participating in a foreign culture successfully can be a though challenge.
When I explained how the imaginary global citizen Phileas Fogg“feels just as comfortable drinking his morning coffee at a Paris bistro as bargaining for the best fruit in a street market in Oaxaca. A true global citizen with knowledge of world affairs”, I was well aware that these activities require certain amount of cultural knowledge and the occasional tourist will always fall into the usual traps. The etiquette for coffee in Paris, according to Phyllis Flick
Know that having an espresso while standing at the bar will cost you considerably less than having it at a table. [...]