Sometimes at the language exchanges very deep conversation topics come out, that kind of conversations that hook you and make you admire the people with whom you speak. Other times we tell funny anecdotes that make us laugh out loud. And, on the best days, the two types of conversations are combined.
One of those days, we were talking about cultural differences. Stella, from Brazil, said that when she was very young she went to visit a pen pal in Finland. It was her first big trip and she was very nervous. Upon arriving at the destination airport, when she saw her friend, Stella jumped over her to hug her and tell her how happy she was to see her, but her friend did not react the same way. There, it is not normal to hug so euphorically in a public place, so rather, she felt very uncomfortable.
Something similar happened to me. After a long three-month vacation in Argentina, I returned to Norway, where I lived and worked. There, when I saw my manager, I went over to give him two kisses and greet him happily. The poor man couldn’t dodge my kisses because he had a wall behind him, but he became tense and straight as a stick in his failed escape attempt. At that moment I realized that I had returned to Norway and that I should behave differently.
Stella and I agree that we have different personalities depending on the language we speak, due to the culture with which we associate it. It is important to always observe before acting, especially when you are in another country, since in each place there is a different culture and what for you is a show of affection, may be the opposite in another part of the planet.
I wanted to tell you about Stella today because she, along with Stephen, from the United States, are co-organizing the virtual language exchanges on Fridays, since I am at the face-to-face events. So, now, our Online Bar works on Tuesdays and Fridays from 7pm to 9pm.
If you also want to learn about other cultures and, at the same time, improve your languages, come and practice them with natives while having a drink, just follow this link and choose the day that suits you best.
What about you? Do you have funny anecdotes related to cultural differences? Share your story with us either in the weekly Language Exchanges in bars, in the Online Language Exchanges, in the Sailing & Language Exchange on Sunday June 27, at the Brunch & Language Exchange also on June 27 or the Paella & Language Exchange on Saturday, July 3. And if you want to see your story published, you can send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org