Don't Mention the War


From a series of “market profiles” by VisitBritain, the
official tourism bureau of the United Kingdom. The
guides, which were released this summer in prepara-
tion for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, are
meant to help British businesses “provide an even
more efi cient and helpful customer service that takes
account of cultural needs.”

Cleanliness is of major importance to Austrians.
The Portuguese take great pride in wearing good
fabrics and clothes of the best standard they
can afford.
New Zealanders are accustomed to high-pressure
showers, not a weak dribble from a nozzle, and
are also used to gallons and gallons of hot wa-
ter being available.
Although Italians give little care to public places,
they are scrupulously clean in their own homes.
Don’t be offended by Argentine humor, which
may mildly attack your clothing or weight.
Canadians often identify themselves as Canadian
by wearing a maple-leaf pin or a maple leaf on
their clothing.
Czechs are very sensitive to price changes.
Brazilians do not travel lightly.
As a nation, Germans are interested in many
things; however, football, cars, travel, culture,
their homes, and getting a good deal are some
of the most important.
The Dutch have a strong desire to order their
time in agendas and on calendars.
Mexicans drink huge quantities of soft drinks
and beer.
Good conversational topics are Mexican culture,
history, museums. Never discuss the Mexican-
American War, poverty, aliens, or earthquakes.
Avoid discussing personal matters or linguistic
divisions with Belgians.
Malaysians dislike walking long distances and are
likely not to be very active.
Nordic people like to get close to the “natives.”
The Japanese (particularly women) could be said
to have a childlike air to them.
Russians love the English sense of humor and be-
lieve it is very similar to the Russian one.
The South African sense of humor is based
more on American slapstick comedy than on
British wit and play on words. Therefore they
may struggle to understand the “joke.”
Don’t ask personal questions to a Brazilian.
The Dutch hardly ever invite people with whom
they are not closely acquainted for dinner.
Spaniards use utensils to eat most food. Even fruit
is eaten with a knife and fork!
Thais are generally aware of the Four Seasons res-
taurant (for the crispy duck), and the Blue Ele-
phant Thai restaurant in London.
The French will begin eating only after someone
says “bon appétit.”
Koreans do not like to talk a lot during dinner.
If an Arab stares you in the eye as you speak, it
means that he is giving you his full attention. If
he doesn’t, it means that he may not care what
you are saying.
If an Arab bites his right i nger, it is a sign of con-
tempt, and this will usually be accompanied
by muttering.
Mexicans use a “psst-psst” sound to catch an-
other’s attention.
Russians may come across as cold and not very
open or polite people.
The Dutch do not believe in lining up and show
almost no consideration in public for a person’s
status, gender, or age.
In America, time is a very important commodity.
People “save” time and “spend” time as if it
were money in the bank.
Belgians tend to be indirect.
Nordic people are often very conscious of envi-
ronmental issues.
Indians do not like to express “no.” Rather
than disappoint you, for example, by saying
something isn’t available, Indians may give
an affirmative answer but be deliberately
vague about any specii c details.
Koreans are not Chinese.