All posts tagged: Cultural Differences

Question 1. Why do the Dutch charge for flooring when you take over their rented flat?

To be specific, what would they do if you told them you didn’t want to pay for the flooring? Would they tear it up and take it with them? Considering the Dutch reputation (and truth) for being stingy (they say practical), I consider this to be a real possibility. I mean, I can definitely see one of my Dutch cousins with a stack of parquet or laminate flooring in their store-room somewhere, waiting for the day they can either sell it off for a good price or wandering around Ikea looking for the same material so they can redo their living room. Do you know what I’m talking about? Maybe not. On Dutch housing adverts, they often list the flat rent (what the space itself costs), the utility charges (can vary – usually a combination of electricity, water, gas, heating, Internet), and a list of furniture to take over. Sounds pretty standard, right? Then come a couple of items I’ve only seen on Dutch adverts: “[Insert type of material] flooring to be taken over at 50€” “5€ extra to share Wifi …

The Korean “3-Times A Day” Ritual

(Picture from Korea Depart) One thing that strikes me is how infrequently people seem to brush their teeth here in Central Europe. My question is: Why don’t people brush their teeth after lunch, if they’re at university or at work all day? (I’ve also met a higher-than-average number of people with bad breath in France and in Belgium which eventually culminated in me developing skills to implicitly and strategically avoid them) In Korea, it is an accepted norm that one brushes their teeth after lunch. High schools dedicate space specifically for brushing your teeth. Everybody keeps toothbrush and toothpaste (and mouthwash) in their locker, and if you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll get called out for being “dirty”(smelly is the exact term if you think about it). Even the smallest convenience stores carry several types of toothbrush kits. At university, students usually eat at restaurants around campus or at the cafeteria. And after eating, they go to one of the bathrooms on campus, take out their toothbrush kit and brushed their teeth before the afternoon …

How Koreans Who Are Merely Acquaintaces Quarrel

Source: Laurent Haug In a nutshell: by text-message, in politely arranged words, and over weeks, without every calling each other rude names and making sure they do not offend the other person. I recently had a ‘quarrel’ with a Korean acquaintance whom I worked with two years ago. We keep in touch a couple of times a year by text, but have never met since. Let’s call this friend A. A asked me to translate a couple of documents for him. I said yes, and obviously I thought I was going to be paid, since he knows I work as a translator. It didn’t even cross my mind I needed to state it (which was unprofessional of me, I realize now. Won’t make this mistake again). When I finished the job, I sent him my bank info, with my usual quota listing. He was startled, and said “Oh, I didn’t know this was a paid job. I’m really broke these days and in debt. I’ll pay you next time”. I texted back “Oh okay, I’m …