Etiquette Europe


If you want to teach English as a 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 Europe. As with most countries English language teachers are expected to dress professionally in Europe, perhaps even more formally than in some hotter parts of the world. While many aspects of behavior and etiquette may seem quite similar, each country has its own particular quirks that should be understood by a visitor.


Manners/ Behaviour

Good posture is important in Switzerland so you should avoid slouching. Habits such as chewing gum and cleaning fingernails are not acceptable in public. If you are eating at someone's home, you should finish everything on your plate as it is considered rude to leave anything.


When greeting someone you should look them in the eye and give a firm handshake. You should only use a person's given name if they have invited you to do so. Personal auestions to people you do not know well should be avoided.



It is considered rude to have your hands in your pockets when talking with someone. Punctuality is taken seriously in Germany and you should always be on time for appointments. If you are going to be late, you should call and explain.


Shaking hands is the common way of saying hello and goodbye but you should never shake hands with one hand in your pocket. Using a person's full title is important, no matter how long the title may be. First names should only be used when invited to do so.



Slapping your hand over a closed fist is a rude gesture and should be avoided. The French are not too concerned with punctuality, but you should make the effort to be on time even if you end up waiting for others to arrive. Picking your teeth and dipping your nails should be done in private rather than out in the open.


A handshake is the common way of greeting each other. You should use Monsieur, Madame or Mademoiselle, when meeting people for the first time. Eye contact is important to show you are interested in the other person's conversation.



Punctuality is not a priority in Spain and it is common to be 15 to 30 minutes late for social engagements. Patience is a virtue and a necessity in Spain as nothing is ever done quickly.


When greeting people shake hands with everyone, it is common to shake hands when leaving too. Avoid physical contact with people you do not know well. You can expect to be interrupted when speaking and should not take offence.



Making the 'OK' hand sign is a very rude gesture in Russia as is placing your thumb through your index and middle fingers. If you are invited to dinner at a Russian's home, you should expect to stay for a while after dinner for drinks and socializing.


A handshake is an appropriate greeting but is not mandatory and first meetings in Russia can seem rather cool and unfriendly. If you do shake hands, you should remove your gloves first. Be prepared for a Russian to stand close to you when talking.

Below you can read feedback from an ITTT graduate regarding one section of their online TEFL certification course. Each of our online courses is broken down into concise units that focus on specific areas of English language teaching. This convenient, highly structured design means that you can quickly get to grips with each section before moving onto the next.

Very interesting unit. The content in this unit has made me want to keep refreshing on this particular subject on grammar and speech.It's very easy using grammar orally having been raised in an English speaking home but, the theory behind can be a bit complex. Learning the key structures of grammar is essential in order to be able to communicate well in written and oral English.This unit covers modals, phrasal verbs and passive voice. We covered in detail each modal and the usage for each one. We compared which expressed stronger language or formality versus informality. We also looked at passive voice and how the structure changes based on which tense you are speaking or writing. Lastly we covered phrasal verbs and looked into detail at all three.

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