Links
on Intercultural Communication

Last updated: 11 March 2007


GENERAL

How Strange! A collection of anecdotes describing the pitfalls of trying out a new language you are learning, this involves far more than acquiring linguistic competence only. Some of the anecdotes are available in French as well. (Part of the European Centre for Modern Languages)

How to tell if you're American. A tongue-in-cheek attempt to systematize the characteristics of various cultures. Based on a questionnaire including topics such as: attitudes to freedom of speech, national telephone systems, things thought unsuitable for eating and whether a bathroom should contain a toilet. Includes similar characteristics of conworlds and the same information organized by subject.

International Business Etiquette and Manners. International etiquette and manners for the intercultural communication needs of professionals travelling all over the world. Includes an explanation of Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions which are part of each country’s characteristic.

Guidelines for business etiquette. Business etiquette for professionals. Includes an impressive number of countries.

Lifestyles. The British Council’s site for learners of English where people share their experiences and reflections on cultures and their lifestyles. Divided into three sections: good things, bad things and everyday things.

Monster Global Gateway. In the middle of the opening page, you find links to global etiquette and culture quizzes.

Absolutely Intercultural. The first ever intercultural podcast to deal with intercultural issues. Subscribe by using itunes and listen to the shows on your ipod or computer. Winner of the 2006 EduBlog Awards (Best Audio and/or Visual Blog).

Quiz. A short quiz about cultural awareness.

Doing Business Around the World. Another website with tips on dealing with and doing business with other cultures. Describes the other culture’s “Communication and Behaviour” and gives tips for “Doing Business”. The countries discussed are: Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Italy, Germany , Japan, Spain, and the USA.

Common phrases based on stereotypes. An Answers.com entry containing a list of common phrases based on stereotypes which are used in America, Britain and Commonwealth countries. Most of them might be considered offensive.

Virtual Tourist Travel Guide. A site for travel fans with a list of around-the world destinations. Each entry contains a “Local Customs” section with reports from people who have actually been to the places.

Multicultural Calendar. A KIDLINK's KIDPROJ Multi-Cultural Calendar, which may enlist every possible holiday. You can browse by month, country, holiday or author. They also contain descriptions of the holidays from kids all over the world, who seem to have a good knowledge of their traditions and history.

Licence plates around the world. What do licence plates look like around the world? Do they say anything about the culture of each country? You can check on this page.

Kwintessential. A link with practical information which will be especially useful for business people who need Intercultural Communication skills at work. Kwintessential offers courses on Intercultural Communication, Translation Services, Language Lessons, Interpreters and Multilingual Website Design plus an exciting Intercultural Awareness Card Game.

SeeMyCulture.com. A collection of photographs which illustrate the culture. Hundreds of pictures to enjoy.

Tales from a Small Planet. A site devoted to people’s experiences of foreign cultures from all over the world.

Travel and Culture. A site for tourists containing practical information on many countries all over the world. The “Travel and Culture” section contains a lot of information on cultural issues. There is also a forum and links to blogs containing travellers’ intercultural experiences.

Academic

The impressive European Values Study is a research project that presents basic values, beliefs and attitudes of people in contemporary Europe. The sourcebook presents data in tabular form .

Journal of  Intercultural Communication on-line. Contains academic articles concerning an array of aspects of the topic.

Multilingual Matters and Channel View Publications website with a list of available journals on language and intercultural communication which have been issued from 2001 onwards.

Communication Tools for Understanding Cultural Differences. Essay by Michelle LaBaron, June 2003. The article focuses on high-context and low-context communication combined with individualism and communitarianism as ways of seeing oneself in relation to others.

Communication Tools for Understanding Cultural Differences. A website with a definition of Intercultural Communication and a list of representative theories, which are well described and classified.

Stephen Dahl. Culture Communication site by Stephen Dahl, the author of a number of books, articles and scholarly publications on Intercultural Communication, with his articles available online.

Intermundo. A culture network for an Internet Community interested in Intercultural Communication. It offers theory, links, intercultural streaming TV, online lectures, forums, dates of conferences on the topic. Registration is necessary to access all that is on offer, but it is completely free.

Helmut Kuzmics. on national characters. An academic paper (pdf) by Helmut Kuzmics of the University of Graz on the development of British and Austrian “national characters” as long-term civilizing processes. Most of the article is devoted to history; however, it also contains a section on the challenges of the present day.

ECML. List of Publications (pdf) by the European Centre for Modern Languages.

Individual Countries/Cultures

Austria

The University of Leoben publication for foreign students containing a lot of general information on Intercultural Communication as well as facts about Austrian culture, so that the visitor’s intercultural experience in Austria is as pleasant as possible.
http://www.unileoben.ac.at/~stdekan/homepageneu08_05/Getting%20Along%20in%20Austria%20final.pdf

Results of a study of 50+ Austrians (pdf) on their attitudes and lifestyles, fears, consumer habits and much more.

Belgium

An essay on Belgian national identity, quality of life, problems, art and literature. A wide overview of the country.

The Xenophobe’s Guide to Belgians. A few extracts from the book on the country, whose culture is not widely described on the Internet.

One Australian’s account of his experiences living in Belgium as well as information about where the country is and what the people are up to there. Weekly articles for Australians to help them understand Belgium.

Bulgaria

An American’s account of her attempts to get used to the Bulgarian ways of life, especially her experience of the shaking/nodding your head for indicating yes or no.

All the basic information about the country including a short section entitled “What  do Bulgarians look like?” and “What do the Bulgarians like?”

Almost any imaginable question about Bulgaria is answered here.

Cyprus

Insights into Turkish-Cypriot customs, traditions, characteristics and way of life.

2. “Differences in Life between Cyprus and the U.S.A.” an article which, apart from focusing on differences, gives a short overview of what it is like to live in Cyprus from a number of aspects, such as work, pastimes, family life and others.

The Czech Republic

Includes information on Czech culture: values, history, art, geography, essays and translations.

Czech culture site with some serious and not-so-serious articles about the country seen through the eyes of foreigners as well as the world famous Czech film industry, name days and a forum.

Denmark
An expatriate Dane comes back to his homeland after two years and describes his observations of the Danish national character. What is it like? Has it changed at all?

A slightly ironic article entitled “A Horrible Place with Good Food and Pretty Lamps” which proves that Denmark is not such a horrible place after all, although the author claims that it boasts the lowest life expectancy in Western Europe.

A straight from the horse’s mouth account of how difficult  relations are between Swedes and Danes. “Love – Hate Relationship?”

On My Very First Night in Copenhagen” an interesting, but little biased, analysis of Danish male-female relationships, and how it is possible that there are so many Danish babies in the streets.

Estonia

An essay on “The Influence of the English Mass Media on Estonian Culture”. Through the descriptions of the alternations, the face of the real Estonian character emerges.

A fairly academic essay which sets out to present ‘ethno-futurism’, a significant literary-cultural movement of the late 1980s and early 1990s, from the Estonian perspective as the place where it originated. A lot of information on the Estonian attitude to tradition can be found here.

Roy Mayfield’s Weblog entry about his meeting with the former Estonian Prime Minister with his observations on the country and people. There are many comments from people who have been to Estonia, who describe their experience.

An English teacher’s short account of the experience of living in Estonia in1999-2000, and all the reasons to love the country and its people.

The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs site containing a “a modern fairytale” plus information about Estonian traditions, nature, character, time-off, the young, food and more.

“Formal Estonian Business Culture and Informal Networks - Love, friendship, and contacts among Norwegian and Estonian Business People in the 1990s” - a paper which gives a really deep insight into the Estonian character, not only in business.

The Estonian Institute’s publication “Estonian People”:  a semi-poetic, sentimental and tongue-in-cheek and, at the same time, a genuine self-portrait of Estonians.

Finland

Virtual Finland’s Way of Life – a site with a guide to Finnish customs, manners, and some common misconceptions, as well as topical stories and information about festivities, food, sport and sauna!

An American expat’s experience of having lived in Finland since 1997. It contains specific experiences of getting a mortgage, social care system and work, but also gives general observations of what it is like to start living in a different culture and what Finns are like.

France

The top 10 tips on doing business with France.

Examples of French and Spanish stereotypes such as: Every Frenchmen owns a bike. All stereotypes accompanied by a stereotypicality quotient.

Germany

Tips for business etiquette in Germany. Based on the book “Mind Your Manners. Tips for Business Professionals Visiting Germany”. Also available in German.

A list of various sites on German culture, lifestyle, language, customs, traditions and more.

 

Greece

This website is intended for mainly tourists; however, it contains sections on: “Greek customs” and “Greek gestures”.

2. Susie Adsaides’ site about Greek superstitions, legends and traditions. You will find out about the importance of bat’s bones, cacti or crows and how to ward off the charm of the “evil eye”.

Hungary

A practical guide for people who would like to study or do research in Hungary: a few words about the culture, food (including the times of main meals), important holidays and famous places.

Corvinus Library’s site on Hungarian History and more: Section 2 “A Way of Life” is a thorough paper on the Hungarian character, Section 11 gives an overview of Transdanubian people, traditions and folk art, whereas Section 14 demystifies Transylvania.

The culture and daily life of Hungarian people: extension exercises on “Pessimistic Character”, “Hungarian Cuisine” and “Hungarian Heritage” are included.

Ireland

A collection of articles about the traditional and modern way of life in Ireland.

The Irish and their Nation, A Survey of Recent Attitudes (2003) by Thomas C.Davis of Cameron University.

Italy

A guide to Italy & Italian Culture. Enjoy yourself as you learn about the traditions, heritage and way of life that make Italians who they are.

A collection of funny flash-movies and jokes about Italians. Not intended to offend anyone!

A list of good reasons why Brits should be more like Italians. A New Statesman article by Carla Powell, written in 1999 but contains eternal wisdom on what makes a happy European.

4. A number of interesting academic articles on aspects of Italian lifestyle from the Christian perspective, e.g. “Italians in Love”, “Flattery in the Italian Culture” and others.

Latvia

Latvians online contains articles concerning a variety of aspects of life in contemporary Latvia and information about Latvian emigrants.

Virtual Tourist’s mainly practical tips and warnings about travelling to Latvia.

Euromonitor: a lot of statistical data about the consumer habits of Latvians including information about alcoholic drinks, soft drinks, toiletries, and future demography.

A site which briefly introduces Latvia to students planning to take part in the international student exchange’s Youth for Understanding programme. There is a section on “The Pace of Life” which in fact describes the Latvian lifestyle.

Lithuania

Gives information about the customs and traditions of the Lithuanian bath.

The culture and daily life of Lithuanians from an analytical perspective rather than a collection of idiosyncrasies in the form of auto-study courses divided in two parts: An Ethnic Portrait on Traditional Culture.

Luxembourg

1. General information about the country provided for high school students who would like to study in Luxembourg. Sections on history and culture are included.

Luxembourg National Tourist Office Site with all kind of information: this section is devoted to the Grand Duchy’s culture.

Malta

Malta’s culture and traditions.

Maltese history and traditions: how the Maltese treat bread, what the evil eye is and St. Paul’s relations with Malta.

3. A Theological Outlook on the traditional Maltese celebration of Easter by Daniel Bartolo, which discloses information about the Maltese character.

The Netherlands

The Undutchables. The official site for fans of a cult book on Dutch culture, oddities and sense of humour. There are also photos, videos and a meeting point where you can share experiences about  life in Holland.

 

Poland

Site of  The American Institute of Polish Culture, whose aim is to promote Poland in the USA. Includes information on Polish history, architecture, science, famous Poles as well as educational facilities and resources available in the USA.

Polish folk resources. Contains links to sites in various languages on folkloric ensembles, music, national costumes, ethnographic studies and Polish cultural institutions.

Polish culture site of BellaOnline – the Voice of Women. Includes regularly updated information on Polish language, cinema, food, photographs and a forum.

General information on Polish traditions, customs and peculiarities. Contains some practical information on how to survive in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, as well as some characteristics of Poles in the Warsaw Guide Section.

An American of Polish origin’s site, which is a tribute to his ancestry. Contains an impressive number of links and some MP3s and MIDIs with the Polish anthem and Christmas carols, which Poland is especially proud of.

A site for American volunteers planning to work in Poland. Contains some basic information on the historical background, geography, culture and anthropology of Poland. There are also a number of interesting photographs which illustrate the traditional appearance of the country well.

Portugal

Go to Lisbon City and Tourist Guide with information about the number, origins and characteristics of the Portuguese people.

The Portuguese national character as seen and analyzed through the eyes of an American comedian. However, it does not add up to a very funny picture.

Contemporary Portuguese Culture site with information about the country’s history, literature, music, fine arts and cinema.

The national character from the perspective of restaurants and pubs. Although the site advertises itself as “The History of Portugal”, it, in fact, tells us more about what the people are like there now.

Romania
Romanian traditions: gives information about symbolism in celebrations, significant holidays, traditional Romanian art.

An American EFL teacher’s lengthy account of her stay in and experience of travelling round Romania: what she saw, the people she met, and the impressions they made on her.

Slovakia

A site containing tools that can help you search your Czech or Slovakian ancestry. It also contains a wealth of information on Slovakian and Czech traditions and customs related mainly to religion.

A short essay on some of the most important Slovakian customs and traditions.

Slovenia

The Slovenian government’s site celebrating 15 years of state which describes what a typical Slovenian is like: contains statistics, stereotypes, things you should know, for example, that an average Slovenian male is very likely to introduce himself as Jožef Horvat.

The Fortnightly Journal of Central and East European Politics, Society and Culture: “Slovenia’s Suicidal Tendencies” – an article by Brian J Požun (2002).

Spain

Examples of French and Spanish stereotypes such as: Spanish policemen wear funny hats. All stereotypes accompanied by a stereotypicality quotient.

Useful tips for visitors to Spain on social customs. Includes information on: Hours, Pharmacies, Banks, Tipping, Dress and Casinos.

Sweden

Swedish traditions and culture today (pdf): gives information about the most important holidays, celebrations and general lifestyle of Swedes.

Young Swedes today: contains statistical data about education and work, leisure time activities, different places in Sweden, politics and laws, rights, Swedish society, and typically Swedish behaviour.

Absolutely Swedish is a short outline of the national character of the Swedes.

United Kingdom

Woodlands Junior School site on British culture with tips which may prove useful not only for juniors! Apart from general information on the UK, there is a list of do’s and don’ts, greetings, social customs and eating manners.

Passport to the Pub: A guide to British pub etiquette, written by Kate Fox and originally published in 1996 (she also wrote Watching the English – the Hidden Rules of English Behaviour).