Taking a trip through traditions: exploring cultural differences worldwide

Olivia Kharrazi

Humans constantly devise behavioral rules to follow as a means of stabilizing society’s well being; these rules in part account for the success of the human race due to the formation of civil, cohesive societies, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation. Though etiquette differs across cultures, its presence remains essential: it establishes the baseline consideration necessary for peaceful cooperation in all other aspects of life. These social and cultural norms, though often unspoken, govern the appropriateness of individual actions in various contexts to create comfortable environments for a given group with similar beliefs, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Though there are always exceptions to norms, cultural differences are often evident in what may be considered standard versus what is regarded as uncommon or even disrespectful. 

Seniors Max Bundy, Kayla Sutton, and Tibi Quinn have each spent time living and attending schools abroad. Bundy spent a year attending eighth grade in Beijing, China to immerse himself in the multicultural experience of living in a foreign country. Sutton boarded and studied at St. Stephen’s International School in Rome, Italy for the first semester of her junior year. Quinn spent the first half of 2017 staying with his godparents attending an international school in Bucharest, Romania to spend time with his family and improve his Romanian language skills. Through these experiences, each was able to observe the cultural differences between the U.S. and other countries firsthand. Here is a comprehensive look into several cultures’ distinctive norms.