15 culture clashes I've had as an American traveling in Asia
- I spent a year traveling across 20 countries as Business Insider's international correspondent.
- I spent the first three months of the trip in Asia, visiting China, Korea, Singapore, and Indonesia. I previously visited Japan while helping launch Business Insider Japan in 2017.
- While each country had its own distinct culture and customs, I experienced many culture clashes while visiting Asia.
- Some of the mistakes I made included not carrying business cards when meeting business acquaintances and trying to hug friends hello or goodbye.
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I spent the first three months of a year-long trip as Business Insider's international correspondent exploring various parts of Asia.
While you are likely to have some cultural mixups as an American visiting European countries, it's nothing compared to Asia, where the proper etiquette or behavior often seems to be the complete opposite of what it is in America.That being said, there are over 40 countries in Asia, and while there are commonalities among them, each has a very distinct culture.
For example, direct eye contact in America conveys confidence. In China and some other countries, it conveys confrontation. In America, tipping is customary to reward good service. In Japan, it is seen as an insult to the work ethic of the person you are tipping.
As I traveled the world over the last year, I spent three months in Asia, specifically in China, Korea, Singapore, and Indonesia. During that time, I experienced countless culture clashes, miscommunications, and misunderstandings.
Here are just a few.