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Etiquette Rules in 4 Different African Countries

Etiquette Rules in 4 Different African Countries | ITTT | TEFL Blog

If you want to teach English as foreign language, it is important to make sure you are as well prepared as you can possibly be before entering a classroom. It is equally important to have a good understanding of the country and culture you are hoping to make your home while you are teaching. Below we look at some important aspects of etiquette in different countries in Africa.

Africa is a vast continent with many different countries, cultures and religions. Common to them all is the high regard in which teachers are held. English teachers should always dress and behave professionally and take the time to understand the details of social etiquette in their new home.


Showing the soles of your feet is insulting to others and you should avoid sitting with your legs crossed. When you visit a person’s home you should remove your shoes before entering. You should also accept any drink that is offered, even if you don’t want it. You don’t have to drink it and accepting avoids offending your host.

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When meeting people, shake hands with a smile and bear in mind that handshakes are often lengthy and light. Avoid holding up your hand with the palm facing outwards is considered offensive. Be prepared for members of the same sex to stand close to you while talking and you should avoid backing away as this can seem rude.


Punctuality is not important in Morocco, and many tasks can be expected to be completed in “Moroccan time”, which could mean anything from a person being 30 minutes late to a day late. You should remove your shoes before entering someone’s house unless your host says otherwise. If you are offered food, it is polite to first decline, then, if offered again, you can accept.

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Shaking hands is the usual greeting and it should be done with the right hand only as the left is considered to be unclean. It is typical to spend some time when greeting and enquire after each other’s health and family.


Don’t give or receive gifts with your left hand, but it is fine to use both hands for large items. When visiting people take off your shoes before entering their house and bring your host a small gift, such as flowers.

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Greet people with a handshake and ask after the person’s health and family. Show respect for your elders by grasping their wrist with your left hand while shaking hands. Be diplomatic at work, being direct is not very common.


Don’t give or accept things with your left hand, the left hand is considered dirty. For the same reason you should not use your left hand to eat. Avoid making direct eye contact too often as this can be seen as impolite.

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When greeting shake hands and smile. When meeting an elder person you should lower your eyes or bow. It is usual to ask about the health of family while greeting another person. Yuu should avoid using a person’s first name unless asked to do so.

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