Cultural Differences

Today, we covered culture differences.  Here are some interesting differences and most are considered very disrespectful if not adhered to:

  • Thankyou is not necessary;
  • However, the elder brother must say thankyou to the younger brother, but the younger brother must not say thankyou to the elder brother;
  • Never use the first name of your elders.  Depending on their age in relative to my dad, I would call someone else’s father thulo babu (elder father) or sano babu (smaller father).  Similarly thulo aama and sano aama for mother;
  • Students must always greet the teacher first with “Namaste”, hands together and a slight bow.  However, in English speaking schools this is being replaced with the Western practice of the teacher saying “Good morning, class” first;
  • Always stand to greet someone elder/ in a higher position at work / higher qualified than you (e.g. if you are educated up to high school level, you must always stand to greet someone with a degree);
  • Men should never touch/shake hands with a female, however a woman can shake a man’s hand;
  • No hugging, kissing or forms of affection in public;
  • Ensure your undergarments can not be seen;
  • If you have eaten something with a spoon don’t use it in shared food;
  • Always clean your hands before eating and eat with your right hand only;
  • Your lips must never touch a bottle if sharing a drink;
  • Never give something with your left hand;
  • Never drop/throw money at somebody, it is considered very rude.  You should always give it with your right hand;
  • Never touch pens/books/any learning aids with your feet, it is considered very disrespectful;
  • If someone is sitting/lying on the floor, never walk over their legs;
  • Never stand or put your feet on a chair if wearing shoes;
  • Take your shoes off when entering someone house. I have also had to take my shoes off at both my Nepali and TEFL classes;
  • Never cross your legs in court, it is very offensive to the judge.

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