The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

A Brief Guide to British Umbrella Etiquette

A Brief Guide to British Umbrella Etiquette

At Commisceo we do all things ‘etiquette’ – whether it’s dining etiquette in Brazil or gift giving etiquette in Mozambique.

Did you know however, that we also do British umbrella etiquette?!  We might not get a demand for formal umbrella etiquette training but here’s some etiquette advice for those moving to the UK who may need to become acquainted with surviving the upcoming UK rainy season:

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'Budgie Nine' - Culturally Belligerent or Innocently Ignorant?

'Budgie Nine' - Culturally Belligerent or Innocently Ignorant?

Have you heard about the 'Budgie Nine'? If not then here comes another perfect example of foreigners acting cuturally-inappropriately when abroad.

To celebrate their countrymen's victory at the Malaysia Grand Prix these 9 men from Australia stripped down to Malaysian-flag-printed swimwear — or "budgie smugglers" as they are known in Australia.

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Ta'rof - Understanding Iranian Culture

Ta'rof - Understanding Iranian Culture

Things are heating up in Iran at the moment. We can tell. Why? Because as new markets open up we usually see this reflected in the countries we provide cultural awareness courses for; and you guessed it, the demand for Iran is big.

On occasion when the help needed by our clients is specific enough, I deliver some of our Iran cultural awareness courses.

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The Relocation Industry and Historical Context

The Relocation Industry and Historical Context

Mention the ‘relocation industry’ as conversation fodder at a dinner party and your guests will probably panic that you’re planning to expose them really dry conversation pieces such as Cost of Living Allowances, Trailing Spouses, Expat Taxation, Bridging Allowances etc

In actual fact, the relocation industry is an exciting one and not deserving of the stifled yawns that might otherwise be elicited when mentioned.

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Could Cultural Awareness Training Get Any Better?

Could Cultural Awareness Training Get Any Better?

As a cultural awareness training consultant, I spend most of my time arranging cultural awareness training sessions for relocating expatriates, existing global companies and companies who plan to go global.

The training is delivered either face to face or remotely via professional trainers, with great feedback from our delegates.

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Love Skittles

Love Skittles

Trump Jnr's Skittles meme is a stupid, irrational argument based on nothing but fear, ignorance and racist politics.

So Trump Jnr, son of the man who plans to make America great again, has come out and likened Syrian refugees to poisoned Skittles.

This blog could launch into a tirade of abuse and arguments against Trump Jnr and his father, however we want to make a simple point to those who may see sense in his line of argument.

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Erasmus is Key for Developing Cultural Awareness in UK

Erasmus is Key for Developing Cultural Awareness in UK

If UK loses out on Erasmus, we lose the next generation

One of the OMG moments I had during my post-Brexit bewilderment was what would happen to funding for the Erasmus programme; an EU initiative to support students to study abroad for one year. I was, and still am, genuinelly concerned about the impact it would have on us should we leave it. Why? Because I saw first hand the impact it has on improving young people's confidence, characters, employability and cultural awareness.

So it was with glee that I came across an article with my morning coffee on the Guardian which highlights calls for the government to protect British participation in the programme.

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Online Training – A Democratic Solution?

Online Training – A Democratic Solution?

Access for All

As cultural trainers, we oversee the delivery of high level cultural training to large multinationals. The benefits of the training extend beyond the company and help individuals to build skills and awareness which help in the long term.

Since we are proud of what we do, we are presented with an ethical dilemma when NGOs, small businesses and private individuals approach us with their training needs as they typically lack the budget to pay our fees.  

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Who on Earth Needs Cultural Training?

Who on Earth Needs Cultural Training?

Why UK Universities Invest in Cultural Awareness

I was recently at a dinner party in London for notable vultures and found myself speaking to a lovely vulture based in Wales who had flown down for the evening. Conversation led to work and what I do here at Commisceo, and what we do as a company, i.e cultural training.

“That’s different”, he said, "...but who on earth needs that?".

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Top Expat Relocation Concerns

Top Expat Relocation Concerns

Post-Brexit, Relocation of Resources is Top Priority

Price Waterhouse Cooper predicts that as many as 70,000 British employees will relocate to alternative European locations between now and 2020 following the vite to Brexit vote. This is not counting the thousands of non-British that could also leave.

We are already seeing signs and it is slowly becoming a reality for a number of employees. As a number of companies seek to retain access to European skills, initiatives and pan EU licensing & tax arrangements, relocation of key staff has become central to their contingency planning.

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Why Norway's Cultural Training for Immigrants Left me Cringing

Why Norway's Cultural Training for Immigrants Left me Cringing

Cultural Training that Does More Damage than Good?

As part of an effort to help immigrants settle into life in Norway, cultural awareness courses have been made compulsory.

Watching some of the footage of the content in a short video piece on The Guardian website left me cringing - it really exposed a rather shallow approach to cultural understanding in many senses.

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Awesome Online Database of Cultural Differences

Awesome Online Database of Cultural Differences

Culture-Geeks Will Love This!

I’ve recently come across a totally awesome database – it’s a treasure trove of statistical information about cultures, societies, language, places and environments; something I thought I had to share with my fellow culture vultures.

What am I talking about?

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Where Will UK-based Businesses Go post-Brexit?

Where Will UK-based Businesses Go post-Brexit?

Will we see a business brain drain?

Britain’s impending exit from the EU has rallied a host of cries from its European brethren, encouraging businesses to continue accessing European skills and resources by relocating elsewhere.

These rallying calls have been heard.  Whilst some UK based internationals wait to see the EU exit deal, others are charging ahead with the steam and energy of a power boosted intercity train; reviewing both the landscape and their options, should they choose to exit.  

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Cultural Differences and Export Marketing

Cultural Differences and Export Marketing

Weak Pound Signals Export Opportunities

If one thing is certain in this time of post-Brexit uncertainty, it’s that the Great British Pound is down the pan and looks like it might stay there for a while.

Although this isn’t great news if you’re taking your family of 4 on holiday abroad, it is great news if you have something to sell overseas. With the Pound so weak, now is the time to try and entice foreign customers through export.

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Brexit and our Cross Cultural Future

Brexit and our Cross Cultural Future

As bridge-builders, interculturalists have a lot of work to do

I’m going to be honest with you. I have written this blog once already – I fully expressed my views and vented my frustrations as to the recent events in the UK. I am now taking all those words back and starting again.

Why? I can pick holes and point to the lies all day but nothing is going to change. The only thing that will change is the future.

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Mindfulness and Cultural Awareness

Mindfulness and Cultural Awareness

‘Mindfulness’ is an increasingly common term. We hear it bandied around by ‘celebs’ who have discovered mindfulness meditation as the means to a stress free life and we have heard the term used by people who try to practice ‘living in the moment’ whilst shrugging off stresses of the past or unrealised anxieties of the future.


Mindfulness also has its own unique meaning in the cultural training world.

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Cross Cultural Communication & PR

Cross Cultural Communication & PR

The Public Relations (PR) industry is responsible for creating and maintaining relationships between clients and customers. Through areas such as brand management, advertising, media relations and crisis management, PR practitioners seek to foster interest, trust and belief in a product or company.

PR practitioners are aware of how best to carry this out when dealing within their own nations and cultures, however, when dealing with a foreign audience it is critical that cross cultural differences are recognised.

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International Retail and Cross Cultural Issues

International Retail and Cross Cultural Issues

Looking for case studies of cross-cultural issues in the retail business?

In this article, we look at some examples from the retail industry where cultural differences or cultural issues have resulted in business success and failure.

This article will attempt to show the significance of the cross-cultural factors in international retail success. Through understanding the cultural reasons behind success or failure, it is then easy to apply the same principles to any business sector.

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Cultural Differences in International Merger and Acquisitions

Cultural Differences in International Merger and Acquisitions

How Culture Can Make or Break a Cross-Cutural M&A

Want to discover how organisational culture, cross-cultural issues and cultural differences shape the success or failure of mergers and acquisitions?

In today’s global economy more people are paying attention to the impact of culture on the international business environment.

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Guanxi: The Chinese Cultural Concept

Guanxi: The Chinese Cultural Concept

"Guanxi" (pronounced (jwan-see) is one of the most powerful forces in Chinese culture.

Though the direct translation of "guanxi" is "relationships", the concept as it is used and applied in Chinese culture is much richer and encompassing.

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