Arriving in a foreign country you are not completely sure what the experience is going to be like. For the first couple of days I can only describe my encounters as awkward. Sitting at our first meal in Venice Italy, Chelsea, Sara, and I found ourselves asking many questions about our mannerisms: do we seat ourselves? Do we have to eat as slow as the locals? Does it look weird if we doesn’t eat three courses and finish with a cappuccino? Are we supposed to tip? Do we have to ask for the bill? lean we leave the money on the table?
After our first awkward dinner encounter, where we now know we had done everything completely wrong, we face timed a friend who had just studied abroad. He informed that of the norms in Italy: only seat yourself if there is no host. You should try an eat slow, but it isn’t a rude gesture. Don’t need to eat three courses, but it might be asked of you. You are not supposed to tip, it is they’re job (this is the hardest, I feel so bad!!). And no, wait for the waiter to come and pick up the bill and money before leaving the dinner table. All of this was so foreign to me, and these are only the rules of Italian dinning!
Other awkward moments in foreign countries can be blaimed on the language barrier. Talking to the locals around here I get really confused. The only word anyone says is “Prego!” That seems to be the universal word in this country. Every time I try to use some of the Italian phrases we learned in school, i feel the Italians just think I’m a silly American. Interestingly enough, most of the restaurants have waiters who can speak enough English to understand ” Can I have a pizza please?”
All in all, I think there are many things you need to learn about a country before visiting it. Learning what is rude and not rude can save yourself a couple awkward or uncomfortable moments. Also, it can help you to not feel out of place and like an outsider if you know the customs.