Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cultural Differences

One of the amazing things about working in a global company is that you are exposed to different, interesting & fascinating cultures and people.
In my work, I have the privilege to work with people from Germany, India, Ireland, USA and rarely Japan.
During the last 10 years I have been traveling frequently to Germany. It is almost natural for me to walk in the streets of Heidelberg like it is in Tel-Aviv, and to communicate with German people, but the beginning was not so easy (for both sides).

Each time before I travel to a new location or start working with a new culture, I do my best to learn about the culture flavors, habits & customs.
During my visits, I try to reach people not only in a professional level by sharing about my life and giving room for mutual sharing. Both in Germany and India, I have a very good friends and I feel lucky that I met these people.

And still, two weeks ago, we had visitors from India. This is not the first time they visit us, and I visited India two times as well.
In one of the evening, we went out and had a very pleasant time, the colleagues from India mentioned that in India it is not polite to wipe your nose in public (especially for woman). That was said about 5 minutes after I wiped my nose…
We, the Israeli team were so embarrassed, and immediately remembered that during our visit to India we wiped our nose several times… I wonder how the Indian colleagues looked at us at that time.
Yet, with all my preparations and learning I did not reach this simple rude action to be avoided.

I treat this aspect with regards, I really believe that bridging the culture difference has a key success in the working relationships, and bring great value to the quality of the relationship.
I am not sure… what do you think? For us, Israelis, is it much simpler? Are we used to differences, since we are a mixture of clusters by ourselves?

Please share with me your own story about important differences I should be aware of in my foreign relationship.
And for my non Israel friends, let's hear your stories about your experience with us the Israelis (or with other as well)…

And here is a link with some additional details…
In English -
In Hebrew - http://blogs.microsoft.co.il/blogs/itaybraun/archive/2008/07/24/quot.aspx


  1. Ofra dearest, I have lived in India for 18 months and never knew how rude blowing one's nose is considered - what a riot. Live and learn. I'll have to think of some funny stories to add to your blog.

  2. Ofra, its just considered un healthy! (and yuck to many people). Today we were giving Ben some tips on Indian Etiquette :)

  3. Hi Ofra,
    a really nice movie having this topic is "Outsourced", a film about an american having to work in india. www.outsourcedthemovie.com. Have fun watching it.