Culture

How the Language You Speak Changes Your View of the World?

Bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia. Now new research shows that they can also view the world in different ways depending on the specific language they are operating in. The past 15 years have witnessed an overwhelming amount of research on the bilingual mind, with the majority of the evidence pointing to the tangible advantages of using more than one language. Going back and forth between languages appears to be a kind of brain training, pushing your brain to be flexible. Just as regular exercise gives your body some biological benefits, mentally controlling two or more languages gives your brain cognitive benefits. This mental flexibility pays big dividends especially later in life: the typical signs of cognitive agei...

Late for Work? It’s No Problem Here

By Mark Johanson It was Hector Ruiz’s first day in a new job as country manager for American Airlines in Nicaragua and his new team had gathered round a candle-lit cake to welcome him to Managua. With a little encouragement he got up to say a few words. “I told everyone to ‘hurry up and blow before this esperma goes all over,’” the 49-year-old Colombian recalled. “In Colombia we use [the word] esperma as candle wax, but for them esperma is actually sperm. So when I looked around, all I saw were blank faces. Everyone was gasping.” He recovered from his blunder but rapid globalisation means more and more expat workers are being dispatched abroad with little or no cultural training about their new locations before they arrive. Ruiz, who now works in New York as regional sales manager for the ...

Expat Culture Around the World: 4 Examples of Cultural Surprises

By Andrea Murad Expat culture around the world As businesses cross borders and markets become global, there are more opportunities for professionals to go abroad for work. Working in a different country comes with challenges—some of which are hard to prepare for. Superficial symbols like a handshake, food, languages and basic etiquette are important to master when working abroad, but how we adapt to cultural conditioning beyond the expected norms goes back to how we were raised. “As you continue to do business with people, you have to understand their world view,” said Sheida Hodge, a cross-cultural consultant in Seattle, Washington. Even when everyone speaks the same language, challenges arise when the same word means different things in different cultures. For example, “a word like ‘cata...

Bilingualism: Language Acquisition and Language Learning

Linguists distinguish between language acquisition and language learning. Children acquire language through a subconscious process during which they are unaware of grammatical rules. This happens especially when they acquire their first language. They repeat what is said to them and get a feel for what is and what is not correct. In order to acquire a language, they need a source of natural communication, which is usually the mother, the father, or the caregiver. Language learning, on the other hand, is the result of direct instruction in the rules of language. Language learning is not an age-appropriate activity for young children as learning presupposes that learners have a conscious knowledge of the new language and can talk about that knowledge. They usually have a basic knowledge of t...

Top UK School Opens New International Branch in Dubai

By Harry Yorke One of the highest achieving schools in the UK, North London Collegiate, is opening a branch in Dubai. The London-based all-girls school’s venture comes on the back of rising demand for English international schools abroad, with expats and wealthy local families in Asia fueling the surge in new branches being established. With Chinese, Indian and Arabic families desperate to provide their children with a British education, recent government figures have revealed that international schools now inject almost £1 billion into the British economy.  The North London Collegiate School, which charges £6,354 per term, has already established a school in Jeju, South Korea. Since opening in 2011, NLCS Jeju has quickly established itself as one of the leading schools in North East...

Japanese Body Language: 7 Key Gestures to Learn

  By Casey Hawkins It may surprise you to know there are close to 100 different gestures regularly used by Japanese people to communicate with friends, colleagues and the general public. While most of those used by Western countries are crude or considered a novelty, the Japanese rely on hand gestures to communicate everything from basic requests to expressing emotion and personal preferences. Those visiting who don’t speak Japanese often rely on the use of hand gestures to get around which can be bemusing, considering some mean the total opposite to what has been learnt back home. Some common gestures have spread globally, making them more identifiable, and are even mimicked by foreigners; however, in many cases their significance has been lost or misinterpreted. Here are seven gestures w...

How to flirt: a European guide

The French flatter; the Brits are crass. So says a social anthropologist in this review on cross-cultural flirting techniques in Europe. Brits are boorish, French flatter, Scandinavians play it cool and Italians get intimate. Everyone flirts, but how we flirt depends largely on our culture and a host of unspoken rules. “Basically we are descended from a long line of successful flirts and it is hard-wired into our brains,” social anthropologist Kate Fox told AFP. “If we didn’t initiate contact with the opposite sex, then we wouldn’t reproduce, and the species would die out.” Those searching for a soul mate or just for a bit of fun may welcome some guidelines to help sharpen their skills, ready for a bit of banter and eyelash battering all in the hope of c...

How To Learn Any Language With An App

BY ED M. WOOD Apps are all the rage nowadays, and for good reason. They can help you out in just about every area of your life, whether it’s keeping fit, organizing your schedule, communicating with friends, or even learning a language. Just like any tool though, you need to know how to use it properly to really benefit. Here’s a user guide for optimal app use, provided courtesy of an app-addicted superuser. Technology is wonderful. Put it in the hands of someone like Elon Musk and it can send people into space, make a future of clean, renewable energy a reality, or build electric cars. Put in your hands it can help you achieve all sorts of things, from learning to code to learning a language. Educational apps are becoming increasingly popular as a supplement, and sometimes as ...

Seoul Power Asias Unlikely Expat Haven

Source: BBC By: Jason Strother Link to original article While not an obvious choice for the jet-setting expat, South Korea’s high-energy capital has a lot to offer foreign professionals, writes Jason Strother. There’s a certain energy to Seoul. Legend has it that the city was selected as the Chosun Dynasty’s capital in the late 14th Century due to the natural vitality emitted from its mountains and waterways. Home to 10 million people, Seoul continues to be the political, economic and cultural centre of modern South Korea and attracts adventurous, inquisitive and talented expats from around the globe. Up until the early 2000s, the local expat community was composed mostly of US military personnel and a motley crew of English-language teachers. Now, people from around the globe flock to Seo...

Zweig the Writer who Dreamed of a World without Borders

By Benjamin Ramm The exiled author killed himself in despair over Nazism. But before he did, he said Brazil had become what he hoped Europe could be, writes Benjamin Ramm. Seventy-five years ago, in February 1942, Europe’s most popular author committed suicide in a bungalow in the Brazilian town of Petrópolis, 10,000 km (6,200 miles) from his birthplace in Vienna. In the year before his death, Stefan Zweig completed two contrasting studies – The World of Yesterday: Memoirs of a European, an elegy for a civilisation now consumed by war, and Brazil: Land of the Future, an optimistic portrait of a new world. The story of these two books, and of the refugee who wrote them, offers a guide to the trap of nationalism and the trauma of exile. Austria-Hungry provided Zweig with a template of cultur...