Etiquette Africa

Teaching English in Africa is a great way to put your newly acquired TEFL certificate to use and whichever country you may find yourself living and working in you can expect a truly rewarding experience. An important part of any preparations you make before travelling to a new country that you plan to make your home is finding out about the social customs that govern a particular society. Not only will this give you a better insight into the reason behind the many differences between your adopted country and home, it will also enable you to make better connections with your colleagues and new friends.

In Egypt showing the soles of your feet is considered rude and you should avoid sitting with your legs crossed. When visiting a person's home it is polite to accept any drink that is offered to you, you do not need to drink it but accepting avoids offending your host. Members of the same sex tend to stand quite close when talking and though this may seem like an invasion of personal space in some cultures, you should avoid backing off as this may seem rude. In Kenya, when visiting someone's home it is common to bring a small gift, such as flowers, for your host. At work you should try to be diplomatic in dealings with colleagues as directness is not common. When greeting people in Kenya it is usual to ask after the person's health and family. Moroccans greet each other with a handshake but only the right hand should be used as the left is considered unclean. Punctuality is not overly important in Morocco and you can expect tasks to be completed in "Moroccan time" which could mean anything from thirty minutes to a day late. In Nigeria as with Morocco, the left hand is considered dirty and should not be used to give or accept things. When greeting elders in Nigeria it is polite to lower your eyes or bow to show respect. You should only use a person's first name if they have asked you to do so.


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