Etiquette Rules in 4 Different Middle East Countries
If you want to be a TEFL teacher around the world, 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 Middle East.
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The Middle East is an area with a reputation of modest conservatism and while this differs in degree from country to country, visitors are generally expected to behave in ways respectful to the Islamic faith of the region.
It is polite to bring a gift to someone’s house if you are invited. When eating, only use the right hand as the left is seen as being unclean. It is also polite to try everything that you are offered during a meal. If you are given a gift, it is usual to open it later. Men greet each other with a handshake. If they are good friends they might kiss on each cheek also. Women usually hug and kiss close friends. Members of the opposite sex do not greet each other if they are not related. Show respect for elders by greeting them before others.
United Arab Emirates
Do not cross your legs when sitting and avoid showing the soles of your feet. The left hand is considered dirty and should not be used when eating. Modesty in behaviour and dress is expected from locals and visitors alike. It is common to take off your shoes before entering a building but you should look to what your host does or asks you to do. Men greet each other with handshakes or a kiss on each cheek if they know each other well. The ‘thumbs up’ gesture can be considered offensive.
People are expected to be punctual. If you are invited to a person’s home you can give them a small gift. Gifts are given with two hands and are not opened when given. Greeting is usually done with enthusiasm and pleasure. It is important to smile and maintain eye contact. Expect a certain amount of small talk when greeting each other. It is important to use a person’s title with their first name and you should not use their first name only unless you have been invited to do so.
Avoid discussing Islam and the King of Jordan. Also avoid public shows of affection. As with many non-Western countries the left hand should not be used for eating. Shake hands with people when meeting them but be aware that some women may not want to shake hands with a man. Women from Western countries may shake hands with anyone but again, Jordanian men might find this inappropriate.
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