A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I’ve been on a long writing break but I’m back for good. When I was thinking of what to write about I was meeting a German and Dutch friend for coffee. I leaned in for a kiss on the cheek to the German and thought it was one kiss, while she was awkwardly still waiting for the second kiss. I then went on to give my Dutch friend two kisses while he was leaning in for a third one. Sometimes, going back and forth between different cultures can get confusing but then it’s a good learning experience especially when the world is getting smaller and cultures are getting closer.
Living in an international community you get used to different forms of greetings. Where I come from you just fold your hands together and say Namaste. The Japanese bow to one another, the Koreans bow as well. However, when one moves to the West, in this case Western Europe, you get accustomed to kisses on the cheek and if you know the person really well, then you go in for a hug!
I asked my friends from different parts of the world on how they do it. It’s one or two kisses for Hungarians, one or two for Germans(or hugs), three for Dutch, two for French. In England you just say ‘what up mate?’ or a hug works too. In Dubai, men kiss each other on the cheeks but there is no cross-gender contact.
Remember guys, when you travel to a certain country you need to adapt otherwise there isn’t a point in living in another country. You bring your own culture to another country but you also adapt to the other country not just in terms of weather or food, but also social behaviour. When one moves to a new country being accepted socially plays a big role in getting adjusted to things especially when that bout of homesickness starts to get to you.