Jane hates ugly americans. Read the whole peice here
. . . Later that day in Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondent’s Club (the other FCC), a few Americans joined me, where I blurted out the story of my run-in with the aforementioned creep from California. We talked about how horrible a representative he is for our country and how we can work to dispel the image of the prototypical American abroad.
Following are some notes from that discussion at the FCC about how to get along in another country without coming off as brash, gauche, or overbearing:
1. Include everyone around you in every conversation. Language barriers or not, it is bad form to exclude another person in your party simply because you do not possess the same vocabulary. Instead, find a way to get everyone involved, even if that means finding a bilingual person to join you.
2. When visiting another country, try hard to learn at least a few words of the home language, no matter how difficult. I always attempt the translations for “please,” “thank you” and “goodbye” even if my accent and pronunciation are barely recognizable. It has always earned me extra points among the my foreign cohorts and put me in better stead with myself, too. Trying out the language allows me to interact with others on a deeper level.
3. When you are first introduced to someone from another county, don’t start off by cracking a joke. Humor just doesn’t travel well. Most likely, the joke will be either misunderstood or not understood at all.
4. Be open-minded. If you are asked to participate in a custom you do not find appealing, do not complain. Instead, cooperate as best you can because that is a big part of the job of getting along in a foreign country.
5. When in doubt, smile. It will stop you from being perceived as unpleasant in the most trying of circumstances.
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