Entries by Maaike

The most annoying word in the Chinese language

[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] I’ve been spending some time learning how to cook Chinese food the past couple of weeks. I’ve eaten a lot of Chinese food in my life, but I’ve never taken the time to learn how it’s actually made. So I decided it was high […]

China China China

Ooowee, where has time gone? I’ve been so busy preparing for the launch of my first ever online course that writing blog posts has fallen under the radar for a bit. #sorrynotsorry So. We need to talk about China. It seems that, even after having returned from China 3 years ago, I still can’t stop […]

Can I ask this?

To paraphrase Obama (and who doesn’t these days): YES YOU CAN. One of the most common concerns I hear from people going abroad is that they want to know more about something they have witnessed in another culture, but they’re afraid to ask about it for fear of offending people. Of course it is excellent […]

Talk to the hand

A friend of mine told me a few days ago, “your hand gestures are much more expressive when you’re speaking English than when you’re speaking Dutch”. I’m still contemplating this observation a few days later. My personal theory is that it’s because I learned most of my English when I went to the United States at age […]

Love is our resistance

When I first starting writing this post I wasn’t really sure where it was going, and to be perfectly frank, I still don’t really know. But that’s okay, I suppose the point of the post is that things are not black and white anyway, so somehow it seems okay that this post doesn’t have a […]

Sometimes, it’s just cold in China

It may sound funny on a blog that discusses cultural differences, but one of the most important paradigms of intercultural communication is the fact that human behaviour isn’t always determined by culture – in fact, most of the time, it isn’t. In intercultural situations, people generally say that the other person’s behavior is a cultural thing because, let’s […]

Why Americans are shallow

For all you Americans out there: there are a lot of Northern Europeans out there who think you are shallow. Just so you know. I’ve talked to a lot of people who lived in the US for a while, and the one observation they all seem to have is that Americans are shallow and can’t […]

Time will tell

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] There he was, in my workshop for students who are planning to study abroad for a couple of months. A typical “helper”. I’m not sure whether it’s a typical Dutch trait, but I see it a lot, this tendency to “help”. This particular student is going to […]

The lunch problem

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” background_layout=”light” text_orientation=”left” use_border_color=”off” border_color=”#ffffff” border_style=”solid”] Cross-cultural lunches: a sure fire way to irritation and insult for all parties involved. The rituals we have around meals and the meanings we attach to those, are one of those things that hardly anyone ever questions. But we should really, as it can cause […]

The blue pill, or the red one?

[et_pb_section admin_label=”section”][et_pb_row admin_label=”row”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text”] So yesterday I was discussing the degree of usefulness of preparing for your stay abroad with another intercultural communication expert, and he compared intercultural communication to taking vitamin pills. This comparison struck me as particularly apt, so I have to share it with you! When you take vitamin pills, you do so […]