Joined: 08 Nov 2005
Location: Seattle, WA
|Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 1:16 am Post subject: 73. Culture Shock! (United Arab Emirates) by Gina L Crocetti
|full title: Culture Shock! A Guide to Customs and Etiquette, United Arab Emirates edition
There are a lot of editions of Culture Shock!, from Australia to Vietnam, although the only other one at my library is Bolivia.
This was written on the assumption that you are a person who, because of a job offer or similar situation, are about to move to the UAE. I have to say it was marvelously written, in particular because I have a terrible time reading non-fiction and yet I read it from cover to cover. It was very culturally objective--a good sort of book to read to understand how a culture sees itself, as opposed to how others see the culture.
It not only gives you an idea of the culture, but anticipates ways that your culture and the host culture will clash, and warns you about how to behave. An interesting example is that although it is to be expected that there will be some conversation about family and health before almost any interaction, you should not ask an emirate about his wife, just about his family. To ask specifically about her implies that she is loose.
There is a multiple choice test section at the back of the book, in which the author gives you sample situations and lets you try to guess the best reaction. Here's an easy one: you (a woman) get into a taxi, state your destination and sit back. The driver pulls into traffic, turns and smiles at you and begins behaving in a suggestive manner. Do you a) scream at him to stop the car, open your door slightly to indicate you are serious and jump out the instant he brings the car to a stop; b) ignore him; c) order him to stop the car, pay him and get out. Many of the test questions say "you could try b then move on to c after a polite interval" or some such thing, but the answer to this one is an unequivocal "A."
I'm probably going to check out the Bolivia one next.