Cultural Sensitivities to Be Aware of Before You Study Abroad

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Cultural Sensitivities to Be Aware of Before You Study Abroad

Studying abroad is an amazing experience that offers many learning possibilities beyond what is taught in a particular degree programme. But there is a learning curve involved in adjusting to any new setting, especially when you take into account cultural differences. So what is good news? You can negotiate these cultural differences by making a significant effort to learn them properly. Read this blog to know about the different types of cultural sensitivities you should be aware of before you plan to study abroad.

Four Cultural Differences To be Aware of Before You Study Abroad

The following list of four cultural sensitivity issues should be taken into consideration when studying abroad.

Gender Norms

The norms and practices of each nation have an impact on what is regarded as “acceptable behaviour” for women, and attitudes toward women differ around the globe. The ideal method for learning how to act, appear, and even dress like a woman? Search before you leave.

Female study-abroad students should research the local customs and religious laws of the nation they will be visiting. Learn about the social role that gender plays in your destination country and what conduct, attire, etc., are appropriate for women there. Social cues that appear innocent in your culture could be viewed very differently in other cultures. Learn the tactics employed by the local women to maintain their safety, repel unwelcome advances from men, and identify situations that can be viewed as romantic invitations. You can be safe if you are aware of local customs. Speaking with students who have just returned from studying in the country that you are travelling to can also be helpful because they can share their experiences and offer you tips on safety measures.

Leadership Styles

Different cultures have dominant leadership styles that can be seen in educational environments. When Cultures Collide author and British linguist Richard D. Lewis offers a useful map illustrating several leadership philosophies from around the world. For instance, although France tends toward autocracy, the UK has a more relaxed approach to leadership. 

Must Read: Guide to Deal with Stress While Planning to Study Abroad


There are many diverse cuisines and food-related customs in the world. When it comes to comprehending the culture and its people, having a solid understanding of the function that food plays in the area you are studying can be extremely beneficial. A unique approach to feeling the “cultural resonance of food” is to be open to experimenting with various meals and “changing your eating routines.” 

Conversational Topics

The methods of communication vary based on where you are in the globe, from what you talk about to how you talk about it. According to a BBC investigation on communication and culture shock, small talk, for instance, may be annoying in Germany but necessary in Latin American nations. 

Additionally, some conversations are acceptable and some are not in different regions of the world. In contrast to the Spaniards’ propensity for discussing football, according to TranslateShark, bullfighting is likely to be a more divisive subject. While the Swiss are willing to discuss the global economy, they are hesitant to divulge personal details until they have established a rapport with the other party. Although these details may seem little, they are crucial if you want to be a traveller who is sensitive to other cultures.

This “don’t be afraid to ask” principle can be used in a variety of cross-cultural circumstances. Because you can’t possibly know everything, asking is an indication of curiosity and respect, even though doing research on your location and studying the people are helpful methods to prepare. Nevertheless, cultural misinterpretations can and do occur. Assimilation depends on your commitment to absorb what you can from them and move on.

To know more about such interesting updates, check out How to Overcome Culture Shock while Studying Abroad? at Leverage Edu.

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