5 Ways to Avoid an International Faux Pas – Whether it’s writing in red ink in Korea or stabbing food with a chopstick in Japan, violations of cultural norms and traditions, no matter how unintentional, can lead to stares, anger, and even the loss of business. Here are 5 Ways to Avoid an International Faux Pas to help you avoid being the bane of your host country.

  1. Silence Your Steins in Hungary
    Clinking of beer glasses has been frowned upon in Hungary for over 160 years. The ban was established after Austria defeated Hungary in the 1849 war and Austrian generals celebrated by clinking their glasses and drinking beer. Upset Hungarians pledged to not clink their glasses for 150 years. Although the vow has expired, Hungarians, who really enjoy their beer, still refrain from clinking glasses.
  2. Giving Yellow Flowers in Russia Can Leave You Blue
    Certain colored flowers have different meanings in Russia, so be careful when presenting a bouquet to a friend or business associate. Unlike in the United States in which it signifies friendship, yellow flowers stand for deceit or the end of a relationship in Russia. Avoid giving red carnations, too, as Russians typically use these flowers on graves.
  3. Using Salt is Worse Than a Mummy’s Curse in Egypt
    One of the fastest ways to insult your Egyptian host is to dash your food with salt. Egyptians believe that if you need to season your meal, you think the food tastes bad.
  4. You’ll Receive No Good Fortune Giving These Gifts in China
    All associated with death and funerals, the Chinese consider the giving of clocks, handkerchiefs, straw sandals, and flowers to be morbid and highly inappropriate.
  5. Punctuality is Not Valued in Venezuela
    When invited to someone’s home in Venezuela, do not show up on time. Early is worse! It is customary to arrive 10 to 15 minutes after the requested time. Those who come early – or even on time – are typically viewed as being too eager and greedy.

Do you want your transferees to avoid other international social disasters? Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) offers a myriad of Intercultural Training and Development programs designed to help your transferees and their families understand and quickly adjust to the cultural nuances of their new host countries. Our flexible, customizable training will reduce the anxiety associated with moving to a foreign region and increase your transferees’ readiness to perform and interact with the businesspeople in their new locations. GMS also has youth and teen cultural training so that the children of your transferees can assimilate easily into their new schools. At Global Mobility Solutions, we don’t just specialize in moving your employees all around the world, we ensure that they are prepared to perform when they arrive at their destinations, and they will know 5 Ways to Avoid an International Faux Pas.