Culture shock: transform it into a positive experience

Culture shock: transform it into a positive experience

What is culture shock? As the phrase itself states, culture shock is the feeling you experience when facing a cultural situation that is new, different and unknown to you. Although the word “shock” seems rather unfriendly and negative, undergoing culture shock doesn’t necessarily have to be an unpleasant experience. Believe it or not, it can turn out to be a really enriching, positive and life learning one. But, how do you survive culture shock? Top 7 things that can cause it First of all, we need to understand that culture shock can be presented to us in both obvious and more subtle ways. We can experience culture shock when coming in contact with different: Languages – Especially when meeting somebody from a faraway country whose language is not only spoken differently but it is also written differently. For example, an English speaker being introduced to a Chinese speaker or a Korean speaker being introduced to a Portuguese speaker.Weather – This can be even harder for those used to extreme weather. For example, an Alaskan native used to very cold weather traveling to an island on the Caribbean.Landscapes – Imagine moving from a mountainous town full of lakes and forests like those in Switzerland to an arid landscape full of cacti like in Arizona, United States, or the other way around.   Food – Here we’re talking not only about tastes, colours and smells, but also about quantities, meal schedules and customs. For example, in Latin American countries as well as in some European countries, people tend to have a snack between lunch and dinner called “merienda”. And don’t even get...
Travel to South America : the things you should know

Travel to South America : the things you should know

Travel to South America, the fourth largest of the world’s continents Ready to travel to South America? Here are some things you should know about it. Firstly, South America is located in the Western Hemisphere and constitutes the southern part of the Americas. Secondly, it consists of 12 independent countries— Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela —, the overseas department of French Guiana and some outlying islands. Thirdly, South America is connected to the rest of America by the Isthmus of Panama and is surrounded by the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Lastly, South America is also home to a wide variety of climates, breathtaking landscapes and rich cultures with its north-south extent of about 4,700 miles and its east-west extent of about 3,300 miles. Feel like home South American people are known to be kind and warm hearted. When greeting, they tend to go for a kiss on the cheek, even when you haven’t been formally introduced to the other person. They are used to being open with foreign people and are always willing to show their culture to the rest of the world by sharing a mate with you, teaching you some capoeira moves or making you a delicious ceviche. Language variations When traveling to South America, you must remember that the main spoken language in most countries is Latin American Spanish, but it is not the only language used in this southern continent. Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, and other languages such as English,...
“El mate”: a special bond created by yerba mate

“El mate”: a special bond created by yerba mate

More than a drink Just as British people religiously enjoy their 5 o’clock tea, some countries in the southern hemisphere share a very popular drink: “el mate.” This tea-like infusion (also known as chimarrão in Brazil) is made with yerba mate and is enjoyed by children and adults at any time of day. What’s more, it has been an integral part of the culture in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and southern Brazil for many years now. So, let’s learn a little more about this important drink. Origin of “el mate” and yerba mate Yerba mate was already being consumed long before the “new world” was discovered. Actually, it was the Guaraní people who inhabited parts of South America who introduced the plant to the European settlers. The settlers began to cultivate it and to make it well-known throughout the rest of the southern regions. Although the yerba mate cropping tradition almost disappeared when the Jesuits were expelled from the region, native people took over and transformed it into commercial harvesting. “El mate” is also related to the image of “el gaucho”, a popular cowboy-like figure from Argentina, Uruguay and the southern part of Brazil. El gaucho is commonly depicted as a horseman dressed in leather boots or espadrilles, a long-sleeved cotton shirt and baggy pants (bombacha), carrying a bola (best known as boleadora) or a long gaucho knife (facón). How to prepare “el mate” First of all, to start “el mate” we need the following things: Yerba mate –that is, the processed ground leaves of the yerba mate plant.A mate –that is, the receptacle where we’ll put the yerba mate....
Popular Places in Germany are Known by Everybody – Try New Things

Popular Places in Germany are Known by Everybody – Try New Things

May the Popular Places in Germany Be Popular Everyone knows Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Cologne or Düsseldorf. Everyone also knows Bavaria, the Black Forest National Park or Neuschwanstein Castle. And certainly, there is a reason why everyone knows these popular places in Germany: they are beautiful, there are many (German) things to do and they overflow with tourists. But Germany has so much more to offer than these big cities and Bavaria. German Cities and Architecture If you really like cities, go to the west of Germany to a region called “Ruhrpott” in North Rhine-Westphalia. In this region there are a couple of big cities close together and well-connected by public transport. It may not be the most colorful place to be in Germany, but definitely worth visiting. In addition, cities like Cologne, Düsseldorf and Bonn are located there. Another city worth mentioning is Cochem. It is a nice colorful city built directly next to the Mosel River. Take a stroll along the promenade, for instance, observed by the Reichsburg Cochem, the Medieval toll castle, rebuilt in fairy tale style in the 1870s. The castle dates back to the 12th century. Meanwhile, modern looking house façades pair up next to half-timbering houses and the stone constructions of the Enderttor, the largest of Cochem’s three Medieval city gates. Cochem, however, is not the only city that offers rivers and castles. You will find them in many other places as well. Half-Timbering Houses If you are interested in architecture, you’ll like the historic old German towns, filled with many buildings in Fachwerk ‘half-timbering’. The UNESCO World Heritage City Quedlinburg, for instance, offers...
Tips for a Successful Website Launch

Tips for a Successful Website Launch

How to get started New year, new website? Launching a new website can be a stressful experience for the creator. Many questions and concerns can arise, as there are a lot of elements to take into account: content, marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), analytics, design, images, etc. In this blog post, you will find useful tips to get you started in creating an inviting and resourceful website for a successful website launch! Keywords, Keywords, Keywords First of all, bear in mind that you should apply and review the following suggestions regularly. Doing it just once before your website launch won’t be as effective. To start with, you have to think of the content and the design of your website. Who do you want to address? Is your content interesting and relevant enough for your audience? But most importantly, and before writing any content, look out for the best keywords to use and work with SEO. You want to go for balanced keywords that have a high ranking in volume but a low ranking in difficulty and competition. Selecting the right keywords is one of your most challenging tasks. They determine how high your website comes back in the search engine results. If you’re interested in SEO and global websites, check out our post about it! Design and Social Media As for the design, you should test it with browser emulators. See if it works well with major search engines like Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari and Opera. You also have to think about your potential clients, find a good strategy to get noticed and make your website stand out....
Global Websites and SEO for Everyone

Global Websites and SEO for Everyone

Global Websites for International Audiences If you have a website, it surely is one of your priorities to make it to the top of search engine results. To achieve this, having an excellent SEO strategy is essential. How about expanding your website to international audiences? Do you have to adopt a similar strategy or does it have to be different? Have a look at this article to create global websites! The Importance of Search Engines SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a straightforward concept consisting in making sure a website comes up at the top of search engine results for terms and sentences relevant to the website’s content. In other words, SEO allows users to find the best websites on the web depending on the keywords used in the said search engine. If you have a good SEO strategy, you are most likely to have a successful website! But what if you wish to expand your website to foreign language markets? Your Target Search Engine in a Foreign Country First, you have to ask yourself, can your website be in the target country’s language? You also must not forget to consider the culture of that country, their consumers and most importantly what search engines they use. Yes, Google is not the only search engine. Let’s take China for instance. The main search engine in China is Baidu. In Japan, it is Yahoo. Another example, in Russia Google.ru is not the main search engine. It is Yandex, for the good reason that the latter is built around the Cyrillic Alphabet. So of course, if you have, let’s say, a Chinese website,...