Cross cultural communication | Pellegrino Riccardi | TEDxBergen

Translator: Ilze Garda
Reviewer: Denise RQ It’s really great to be in Bergen,
this is the second time this week. I live in Oslo, I guess
I’m living in the wrong place. (Laughter) As you quite rightly say, my name
Pellegrino, which is my first name, means ‘pilgrim’. It was given to me by my Italian parents. It is as if they knew what I was going
to do for the rest of my life. “Let’s give him the name ‘pilgrim’,
then he’ll travel the world.” That’s basically what I did.
This is my workplace. I do a lot of travelling. I can give you a fancy title of what I do, but what I really do is I try
to help people communicate better, especially in the global business world. So I try to help people communicate better
with other nationalities. You know, the first thing
you think of when you work with other nationalities
and cross-cultural communication, is “Let’s look at the other cultures.” I take a slightly different approach, I say to people,
“Take a look at yourself.” I am going to talk a lot about perception because it’s all about perception
and understanding what people see. As you see, I have Italian in me,
I have a lot of British in me. Some people are often surprised
by my English accent, it’s quite nice, isn’t it? Because you weren’t expecting this, you are expecting me
to speak with an Italian accent. I don’t speak like that. (Laughter) And I’ve been in Norway
for over a third of my life actually, so I’ve got a lot
of Norwegian in me as well. What I like doing to people is I have these little social experiments
to test their perception of me. As I said, I travel a lot,
so I like playing with the airlines. I like going up to the airlines
and talk in English, or sometimes with an Italian accent, to see what kind of reactions I get,
and English is the best one. If you want a good service,
you speak English like I do. It’s fantastic. People take you seriously.
Well, they do, you know. I mean, yesterday,
the plane to Bergen was late. If I go up and say, “Excuse me,
it’s 30 minutes late, I’m a punctual person,
I don’t like being late,” they just take you seriously. But yesterday I thought
I’d try in an Italian accent. (Laughter) So I went up, and I actually said, “Excuse me, but the plane
is 30 minutes late, I’m a punctual person, you know.”
(Laughter) Exactly! I got the same reaction
as you did there. (Laughter) This is one of the problems
when working with other nationalities: people see what they want to see,
they don’t always see what you see. And this is one of the challenges. Just before we get into it,
culture, let’s look at culture. My definition of culture – I know this doesn’t cover everything,
but let’s keep it simple, I usually do two day workshops on this,
I’ve got 18 minutes – “a system of behaviour that helps us act
in an accepted or familiar way”. Key word there: accepted or familiar. We’re basically doing things which are accepted in our social group
and which are familiar. So a lot of my work is actually
explaining Norwegian behaviour to other nationalities. I’m constantly looking for this sort of, “Can we describe
a Norwegian in a nutshell?” I think I found it – I found
this fantastic text on the Internet, I want you to read it,
it’s really worth reading. “If you were to use a colour to describe
this person, he’d have to be green. He lives in isolation in his home, a place
he best describes as ‘his’ and ‘cosy’. However, he is not the most receptive
of people when it comes to visitors.” The typical Norwegian. “He is somewhat primitive,
but he is honest, straightforward, all he really wants in life are the simple
little pleasures like peace and quiet.” Do you recognize any of this? There are some key words –
can you see that? They jump out at you. And OK, it’s a stereotype,
but a lot of this is a bit true. I show this to Norwegians,
and they kind of nod, “Yeah, OK. I’ll give you that one.” Then I surprise them: this is a description not of a Norwegian,
but of a Hollywood film star. Yeah! Would you like to know who it is? There it is.
Is that person there. (Laughter) The point about this is you often believe
what people tell you as well. I could sit there and tell you
this is a Norwegian, and you believe it. It’s not a Norwegian at all; although maybe this could be a Norwegian
that is going off to this house, but there are many words in there
which are accepted and familiar. Another accepted and familiar thing
about Norwegian life is the Norwegian forest;
I live in the Oslo area, it’s all forest. Working across borders is basically
not accepting completely that your assumptions
are the assumptions of others. I mean that’s logic;
you know, common sense. The Norwegian forest is a good thing,
isn’t it, Norwegians in the room? It’s all good, it’s fresh air, nature,
elks, skiing, it’s fantastic. That’s what my wife thought the first time
my father visited us in Norway because she thought
we would do something nice. So my wife asked my Italian father, “Would you like to go
for a walk in the forest?” And my father looked at her
and said, “Why?” (Laughter) I had to explain to my wife
that if you say to another Italian, “Hey, you and me,
we go for a walk in the forest,” that means something else,
you don’t do that. (Laughter) But how can you know that?
How could you know that? Accepted and familiar. At the time, we went for a drive,
we went for a drive with my father, and we are all looking at the same thing. A beautiful Norwegian landscape. And my father is taking photographs
that he wants to show his friends. The road is kind of bumpy,
so he says to my wife, “Could you slow the car down? Stop it,
I want to take a proper photograph.” My wife says, “But Mr. Riccardi,
there is nothing here.” He looks at her and says to her,
“I know. I’ve never seen nothing before.” (Laughter) What was amazing with this
is we’re looking at the same pictures and using completely
different words to describe it; this is the challenge
of working across borders. We’ve got different ideas
of accepted and familiar. Here is what is accepted and familiar
to me when I queue. I was raised in the UK, we’re the world champions
of queueing, waiting in line. And you know? We’re fantastic. If you’re waiting in line
in a supermarket in the UK – let’s say there are
10 people waiting in line, we all are getting a bit impatient
because we’re all waiting in line – and then they open a new cash register,
do you know what will happen in the UK? The first four people won’t move,
they’ll stay in the queue. The next six people will move
to the next cash register in more or less the same order,
and they kind of check with each other. If they open another cash register,
the same will happen. It’s like a formation dance,
it’s fantastic. Would the same happen in Norway? No. What would happen if they shout
in Norwegian “Ledig kasse”, which is “Available cash register”? What happens? Everybody goes for it. It’s first come, first served, isn’t it?
Isn’t that what is accepted and familiar? The first time that happened to me, I was shocked, and I said some
not very nice things about Norwegians. (Laughter) But, you know, you got to dig a bit deeper
to find out why Norwegians do that. Why are they running
for that cash register? Why is it a free for all
and first come, first served? I think it has got to do with this.
“What?” they say. This is the King of Norway
on a train in 1973, that guy in a cap on the right. This is equality, and I think the queueing system
in Norway is all about equality. First come, first served
is about equality, and it’s the ability
to dig under the surface and find out what
the underlying values are. That’s how you know
how to communicate with people, this equality is really
important in Norway. It’s the reason we’re
so laid back with each other, we don’t bother with titles,
we dress casually, it makes a fantastic business
environment actually, doesn’t it? But sometimes, it can take you
a bit by surprise, and in those situations where you feel
uncomfortable or irritated, we have a tendency to jump
to the negative conclusions rather than the positive conclusions. I travel all over the world – and this is not
an advertisement for the airlines – but it is Scandinavian Airlines,
and Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines, and everybody knows Singapore Airlines
has the best service – why? Because they have a whole lot
more hierarchy in their societies. Therefore, when they serve you,
they serve you, and the Singapore Airlines staff
– if you ever been on their flight – but from the moment they welcome you,
they look like they’re going to serve you. I mean, it’s just the body language,
it’s like, “Anything for you, sir.” Now, if a Scandinavian Airlines person
did this when you came on, yeah, exactly, you would get
suspicious, wouldn’t you? What is going on? (Laughter) Because it is not accepted
or familiar, that’s it, you know. This is what it’s all about. So this is how we do it.
And look at the space. Space is important, nobody is touching. If you go to somewhere like Finland,
that space becomes even more, can you see? (Laughter) It’s fantastic. (Laughter) Look at the way they queue in France. It’s nothing like the way
I’m used to queueing, and it’s different every day,
it’s never the same. And in some cultures, you need
a bit more motivation to stand in line. This is my favourite one,
this is fantastic, look at this. (Laughter) Isn’t that great? They’re all different. We are all doing the same thing
in slightly different ways. Now, how do you get across borders?
How do you navigate through this? Because you can’t learn
all the codes, it’s impossible. Here is a tip. This is what I’m really
passionate about – curiosity. I am, have been, always will be
a curious person. Curiosity gets you
through a lot of things. I believe you can ask any question
to anybody just about anything, provided you do it with curiosity. That’s it. Curiosity is a great thing. Now, I’ve got three kids. Kids are the most curious
creatures on the planet. A recent survey – I can’t believe this,
but I have to quote it – apparently, 4-year-olds will ask
up to 390 questions per day. 82% of those questions will be
to mothers rather than fathers. You know why? When the kid goes to the father,
what does he say? Go and ask your mother. (Laughter) Curiosity is so important. One of the most
difficult situations I had– I was having a meal
in Helsinki, in Finland, and I was sitting there, and the thing is when we, Italians, eat,
we talk, we have to talk actually. We eat and we talk, we eat and we talk. We’re not alone on that actually,
many cultures do that. Finns, on the other hand,
don’t have to talk. They can talk, but they don’t have to. So, I’m sitting next to this Finn, and I’m trying to be curious
and create a conversation, and I thought, “OK, small talk.” The rules of engagement of small talk. Rule number 1: ask a simple question.
Curious, simple question. Rule number 2: listen to the answer,
pick out a word, follow up that word. It’s really simple actually. So, I was there, this quiet Finn
was sitting next to me. I turned to him, and I said, “So, have you lived
in Helsinki all your life?” He looked at me a little strange,
and he said, “Not yet.” (Laughter) Moments like this – you know, which word
do I follow up: ‘not’ or ‘yet’? – (Laughter) challenge your curiosity,
but you’ve got to be curious, it’s really simple. Do you know what it is
about the Nordic cultures? It’s all about economy of language. Italians use loads and loads of words
to say very, very little actually. In the Nordic countries, it’s different, it’s the opposite;
minimum words, maximum message. So, where I was raised, in the UK
– it is also lots of words, by the way – look at this, “Excuse me,
may I just interrupt you for a second?” That is 10 words.
That is way too many words. The Norwegians manage
to do this in one word, that’s what I call economy of language. What is the word? Look at this. (Laughter) Yeah. (Norwegian) “You?” That’s it. “Sorry for bumping into you like that,
terribly clumsy of me.” That is way too many words.
The Norwegians do it in one word. Ready? There it goes: [Oi!]
Fantastic. (Laughter) My favourite – and you know the answer – “Sorry, I didn’t quite catch
what you just said.” (Audience) Hæ? Well-done. “Hæ?” One word. The first time I heard that,
I just heard this, “Hæ?” (Laughter) I’ve got three kids now going,
“Hæ?” “Hæ?” “Hæ?” (Laughter) But look beyond the negative side,
and look to the curiosity. And this is it, we are often misperceived because, on a serious note, this “Hæ?”,
which I’ve heard many times, doesn’t often get perceived
very positively by other nationalities. You get it, yeah? Everyone has been
misperceived in their life. The Dutch are often misperceived, they complain a lot, they are
the world champions of complaining. But why do they do it? Because they are looking
for something better. One way to do it is to complain and seek
a better result, that’s often difficult. I used to work with a guy
who was French – he is French – I used to work with him,
his name was Yves. Yves. Yves complained a lot as well. He complained about everything,
and he questioned everything. He had a fantastic mind. I would come into work– and once I came into work,
and I said to Yves, “Good morning!” He looked at me and said, “Is it?” (Laughter) He was on that level, you know. I’ve had my challenges too. The biggest challenge I’ve had living in Norway and trying to communicate
with my fellow Norwegians, is, of course, feelings
and expressing feelings. Where I come from, we express. What I’ve learnt to do
– I’ve had to learn to do – is kind of tone myself down actually
living in the Nordic countries, in Norway, to tone myself down, keep it low,
keep it calm, because that works better, which is often very, very difficult. Another thing is rules,
I still find rules a little tricky. I must admit
that is where I’m quite Italian. These are people driving
into work in a town, in Norway; they are following rules, can you see? They are simple rules, the rules are:
keep between the lines and don’t use the lane over there,
– the public transport lane – unless you’re a bus, a taxi,
or an electric car; simple rules. And look at this: every single car manages to drive
between the lines, it’s fantastic. Now, this is a little clip that I took
this summer driving down to Italy. This is a police car; that car
has nothing to do with the police car. It’s just a little, short clip,
but look at it. I mean, would you do that in Norway?
You know you wouldn’t. This is another clip in France. What they do – yeah, yeah, look –
what happens is that, you see, they drift. I love that guy in the BMW,
the French guy is going, “Left or right? I do not know yet.
I have not decided.” (Laughter) It’s fantastic. In some countries,
you can’t even see the lines. Where are the lines? Where are they? I suggested once
to an Indian colleague of mine, “Perhaps, if you painted
the lines more regularly, people would follow the rules.” He said, “No, that would be
a waste of paint.” (Laughter) That is why we have
traffic wardens in Norway. This is a traffic warden in Norway
giving a ticket, a fine to this car. Now, I’m just going to check. You see, Norwegians know
these rules instinctively, it’s your duty to learn the rules, but can I ask you why that car
is going to get a fine? Too close to the zebra crossing there,
pedestrian crossing. What is the minimum distance? People mumbling ’25’. You know this stuff,
it’s like a stupid question. So the day I parked my car in Oslo…
let me just explain you what is going on. The line goes under here
and then underneath the wheel, this is no parking,
I was a little bit in a hurry. My wife said to me, “I think you should
move your car forward a little bit.” I said, “Why?” “Just move your car.
It’s… you’ll get a fine.” “Why?” “Just… just, please, move your car.”
(Laughter) You could see she was
really uncomfortable, and this irritated me, I thought, “You know, I don’t have
time for this. Let’s go.” So I left. OK – and this is especially
for the Norwegians in the room – did I get a fine? (Audience) Yes. Do you feel sorry for me? No.
You get no sympathy. (Laughter) No sympathy whatsoever. It’s a simple bloody rule,
follow the rules. Italians believe that the power of speech,
the power of persuasion is you most important tool in life. We believe that you can appeal to people; if you’re good enough at appealing,
they might listen to you, and they might find
an alternative solution. So I believed that I could call
the Oslo Traffic Police and talk my way out of the problem,
and I can see Norwegians doing this, “Oh, no! You’re wasting
your time. Don’t bother.” No! I thought I would try. I called the guy down at the Oslo Traffic,
“Hello, this is Pellegrino …” – by the way, I spoke English,
of course, not Norwegian, because they take you more seriously – “Hello, this is Pellegrino…
I’m referring to the case 78206.” “Yes, I have it in front of me here.” “I was just wondering
if we could be a bit flexible on this, we’re only talking about 20 centimetres, I’m really sorry, I’ve learned my lesson,
I won’t ever do it again.” Did it help? Not at all. To his credit, he was good,
he was really good. I could hear him clicking,
he had all the rules, he was saying, “I’m very sorry,
but the wheel must be inside the box. (Laughter) It says so here in the rule 5,
paragraph D.” He had all the answers in front of him. Then he said something I’ll never forget, “Riccardi is your name,
you may be Italian. You probably like football.”
I said, “I do like football.” “Well, it’s like football, you know. The ball must be over the line,
the wheel must…” (Laughter) But it’s fantastic. It was great. He had all the answers,
black and white, he had everything. Fine. I told my friend Yves this,
my friend Yves, the French guy, who got really irritated.
– Remember Yves? “Is it?” – He is really good at asking questions and said, “OK, the wheel
must be inside the box. What if I take the wheel off the car?
What would happen then?” I thought that was really
interesting actually. (Laughter) I called back and asked, “What would
happen if I took the wheel off the car?” He didn’t have an answer for me.
He couldn’t answer that question. Why not? It’s not an accepted
and familiar question, and he doesn’t have that approach. Then you need the help of an Italian because the time I parked
my car in Italy… You see, I was looking for a parking place
on a holiday, impossible. I see a traffic warden,
and I go up to her. I start talking in Italian,
“Listen, I’m looking for a parking place.” She says, “There is a parking house nearby
but don’t park your car there.” “Why not?” She says, “It’s too expensive. 40 Euro!”
(Laughter) “Really? What should I do?” She says, “I like you.
You seem like a nice fellow. I like the way you talk Italian,
I’m going to help you today. Park your car over there.” And she points over to this sign
and says, “Go and park car over there.” (Laughter) “Come on, I can’t…” “It’s OK, it’s not dangerous.
Park your car there. Don’t pay 40 Euro in the parking house.
Park your car over there. I give you a fine for 30 Euro,
you save yourself 10 Euro.” (Laughter) I’m not here to discuss
whether it’s right or wrong, but what I can tell you is that I get it. I get it because I’ve got it inside me. I’ve seen this before, and I accept it,
and I can see the positive elements. You see, these three cultures
I have inside me. Just to finish off, this is
what I’m passionate about: I’ve got three cultures inside me, they’re all very different,
they are planets apart, they really are, in certain aspects. But you know what I try to do daily,
especially with my kids? I try to take the best of all three and try to merge them into one new culture
where you take the best of all three. Across borders isn’t about going
to cross borders in my mind, it’s about extending your borders
and creating new ones around us. And if you can create a new culture
where you take the best of all three, like I try to do,
and it’s not easy, guess what? That is when you create
what we call a global mindset. And I believe this is what makes
the world go around. Thank you very much. (Applause)

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100 thoughts on “Cross cultural communication | Pellegrino Riccardi | TEDxBergen

  1. Pellegrino, thank you! I would not be able to make it clearer. I'm Ukrainian living in Mexico and everything you've said is so true!!!!!

  2. Hi, Advanced English Speakers: How about being more American? Join me for an excellent English Phonetics/Pronunciation/Accent program on Skype. Just 10 Half-hour sessions. Absolutely FREE until December 2015. Skype ID: CAlearning

  3. I have both Korean and American, a little European, sides inside myself. It's hard to combine Eastern and Western cultures, because there are immense differences between the two, but just like Pellegrino said, the best way is to take out the good sides of each and then extend your cultural boundary. Of course, it's easier said than done, and struggles comes along with it, but eventually that's how you grow and that's how the world goes around.

  4. Great presentation! Again. Im a fan, think I've seen all of your stuff here on YouTube and went to a live presentation at Kulturhuset last week too 🙂

  5. Fantastic presentation. Did the Norwagian traffic police department follow up on the question of what if the rear wheel was taken off?

  6. Here in the Philippines, we also use the word "hæ" but it is spelled as "ha". Both words have the same meaning but different pronunciation.

  7. I really liked your presentation, thank you
    By the way I am doing my PhD on Cross Cultural communication, in Napoli (I am from Algeria) ^^

  8. I would like to show a portion of this video in a diversity and inclusion workshop at my organization. We have already contacted TED, and because this is a TEDx video, we were told we had to get permission from the source. I would love to know with whom I should get in touch to obtain legal permission to use this. Thank you!

  9. OMG I love this. Im an Aussie (mixed race from very traditional chinese and very true blue aussie) Now Im dating a norwegian! This was so goooood! Now I get why it shits me to tears when he says "WHAT?!" I always think… excuse me… that's a bit rude… but it's just the whole Hæ thing lol

  10. Enjoyed your presentation a lot!!!! I am preparing my own presentation to other students from many different countries in Finland..The things you talked about Finnish are very true, I also was shocked by not talking while they are eating…oh my gosh..soooo frustrating situation. But now I decided to eat faster….instead of talking and lauging… 🙂

  11. I'm actually glad that our English teacher chose to have us prepare our exam by watching this vids. Second run and still finding it efficient (straight to the point) and funny 🙂

    (FYI I'm a postgraduate student in Supply Chain management and we've covered the negociation and cultual differences in business environnement) 🙂

  12. The walk in the forest thing is bullshit and offensive: I'm Italian and it didn't even cross my mind the mafia connection. Maybe his father didn't feel like walking in the forest, tha's all. What you wouldn't do for a cheap laugh…

  13. Our studycoaching lecturer made us watch this (I'm in an international course in the Netherlands), and I just rewatched this because I will never forget the whole complaining thing. It's really just a matter of how you go about certain characteristics. Really opened my eyes, and I can't wait to see more of the world asap. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Hey I am  Tarun from India  currently preparing on the cross cultural training your session will be of a great help…please keep on updating more videos….You are  the best….

  15. Thank you for a very good talk, also a good show. Am preparing a lecture on intercultural sensitivity for my students, and apart from the content (especially the curiosity message) you inspire me to put together a really good show!

  16. In American culture, you take the wheel off the car to avoid not having your car outside the line. The traffic cop wants to give you a ticket anyway. You refuse and take it to court. It gets picked up in the local news and gets broadcast all over the internet where tens of thousands of self-identified social commentators (and a few self-identified attack helicopters) have something to say about it, along with a handful of youtubers. The case gets appealed to the state supreme court. From here, numerous memes have been made, and people start taking sides. It now becomes an argument between individual liberty and oppressive government, as the case gets appealed to the US supreme court. Shock waves are felt across the country as the 5 to 4 ruling is made in favor of the most insidious and horrible side of the argument (which is always the side opposed to yours), proving that racism and sexism are "alive and well" in our white supremacist patriarchal male privilege objectifying something something state. Massive protests, people block traffic, "All Tires Matter", and by this time we're electing our umpteenth anti-Christ who will surely bring the final days of our country.

    Did I skip anything?

  17. Had me in tears but because I am half British, Half Italian, Half Dutch and half French. Yes I'm a big lady…jokes apart I loved this talk but is that because of my background? How many in the audience really understood the humour in the talk? It's about knowing your audience but when you have a multiculti audience how do you position your humour? without offending anyone or sounding too 'schadenfreude' – an area I thoroughly enjoy!

  18. This talk is more akin to a racial comedy jam session than a scientific talk that can be used for instruction. The difference – comedy is intended to make you laugh only and, unlike this mess, no conclusion is drawn from any stereotypes or fallacies presented.

    In the conclusion what is he trying to instill in his children again? Is he trying to instill in his children the best of all the stereotypes that he rattled off during the course of the video? This is an entertaining video but should be on comedy central not TEDx.

    Let me offer some much better advice for cross-cultural communication and diversity – be aware of customs and traditions and AVOID STEREOTYPES AT ALL COSTS.

  19. I found this a very interesting and engaging presentation. I liked the humour too. Having lived in 3 very different cultures It resonated with me: Colombian, British and US. I also liked the idea that Curiosity is very important trying to understand, adapt and survive. This has helped me a lot, as I am a curious person.

  20. Great speaker. Have had the same experiences at the store ( when i told an older man that he shouldn't just jump to the New line before the others) and With a parking ticket that I convinced them ( after two tries) to void.  Also politeness and  conversation styles can be so different in various culture.   Learn from and take the best for each culture.

  21. I  use this to teach intercultural communication – thank you so much the students love it. Yes you are correct always be curious it is so rewarding. I teach students from other cultures and I am always curious and they really respond so well to someone being interested in them.

  22. I born in subcontinent, explore my country first and understand different culture and places around me, and move to europe spend few years and had same experience from the exploring and understanding human, places and culture around as asia middle east still going on my exploring. boom line i agreed with the fact picture has 2 sides we should focus and adopt good sides of the picture and speed the same. wonderful talk.

  23. “I brought them up here to illustrate the point of conformity: the difficulty in maintaining your own beliefs in the face of others. Now, those of you — I see the look in your eyes like, "I would've walked differently." Well, ask yourselves why you were clapping. Now, we all have a great need for acceptance. But you must trust that your beliefs are unique, your own, even though others may think them odd or unpopular, even though the herd may go, "That's bad." Robert Frost said, "Two roads diverged in a wood and I, I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Tom Schulman, Dead Poets Society .

  24. He said the world champions of complaining are the Dutch, another Ted talk speaker once said the English are the champs of complaining, and another comment down says it's the Germans. Who is the champion?

  25. This is now my absolute favorite TedTalks! I’m communications major now going for intercultural communication…
    I wish I could sit down with you and have a discussion… this is exactly the stuff I love to hear in intercultural communication group. I got my BA in history and wants to teach, but learned quickly that I want to both make a difference and bridge the divide between cultures. It’s amazing how the world improves when we learn how to approach life with cultural relativism but in a practical and adaptive ways!

  26. That is a great example of how Cultures can be different in many worlds. I'm American who lives in Mexico, and I understand many Mexican cultures.

  27. Great presentation but I was left wanting. I can see why this is a two day workshop. Further elaboration is required to adequally communicate the neuonces of such a complex topic.

  28. I enjoyed this session. And as a cross cultural trainer myself, I have learnt a lot from this. Thanks!

  29. Whoa i didn't blink when i was watching this. All of what he says were extremely accurate and makes sense. Thankyou!

  30. We should definitely always seek the positive, even when the negative can be the first reaction

  31. Thank you, Pellegrino! This is very funny! I live in Sweden for 14 years and Swedes are very similar to Norvegians. I am Lithuanian, I offten compare those two cultures. Even though the Baltic states are just through Baltic sea, people are so different. It's really fascinating topic! ??

  32. Well, I don't see how "first come first serve" is all about equality. If anything, it's about the fastest, strongest, most stubborn, most active, fittest wins. It's about who is best adapted for reaching the goal (being first). Equality would call for, let's say, an inclusive vote, or an inclusive lottery to decide who gets to be first.

  33. The German "Du?" really is an oversimplified example. Granted, some Germans use it, but rather if you are on a first name basis, in an informal setting, just casually trying to make contact. No German would walk up to his superior or a stranger, or someone they are not personal with, and say "Du?" to make contact. They would say something along the lines of: "Excuse me/sorry, do you have a moment?" (German: "Verzeihung, hätten Sie einen Moment?" Or: "Entschuldigung, darf ich Sie/dich kurz stören?" – "Sorry, may I interrupt you briefly?"). The use of the formal "Sie" (formal "you") and the informal "Du" (informal "you") plays a much much bigger role in Germany. Familiar and accepted in this case: Sie (generally) to a superior, elder or stranger, Du to a colleaque, youngster, or friend. Although this culture is slowly changing with more and more people rapidly shifting from the "Sie" over to the "Du" as fast as possible. Especially the younger generation in Germany prefer the "Du" even with superiors, elders and strangers (which sometimes leads to a clash of culture even within German culture).

    I sometimes have that nagging feeling that cross-cultural communication bears the danger of fortifying stereotypes about a certain culture or people. Culture changes, and what is generally said about one culture won't hold true for every single member, or even every subgroup of that culture. So, to give generalizing behavioral advice is potentially setting people up for stereotypisation and disappointment.

  34. I loved the Shrek description of Norwegians 😀 haha…. but 80% of kids questions are asked of mothers because in most families the mother is with the kids for more hours of the day.. yes she might be more approachable but maybe not, maybe the Dad ins't available so it's ask mum

  35. I am an Italian American and I noticed that Italians from NY seem to talk over one another but we're perfectly fine with this and hear and listen to each other. Other people think this is rude. What do they do in Italy?

  36. What a great intervention!
    I'm french so I can't agree more about what you said. We do complain all the time about all things.
    But I would say even inside each culture, there is many different cultures. French people from countryside would definitely be irritated by the behavior of french people (especially parisiens) you presented. So the more you go into the countryside the more people would look like a little bit like norvegians people. And generally the more you go inside big cities, the more you find depressed people that complain about anything and are world champion when it comes to break the rules (find a place to park your car in paris is like looking for a needle in a haystack sometimes).
    But I guess it is not a french fact, i can imagine that London for instance has the same kind of distance with the rest of England. But maybe I'm wrong.

  37. Western civilization and culture in one word would be submissive. If a person with another culture no matter how odd or violent dropped out of the sky into a western town the people would stop and stare as if they are learning. But the second someone would stand up to that person the people would get angry and stop him. I honestly have no idea how the west got to this point but it seems to be born out of cowardice. And cowardice in nature and history has a very short lifespan. I could give hundreds of examples but would anger and be labelled hundreds of names.

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