Exercise 1

Listen to the conversation. If you are invited to someone’s house in Germany, when are you expected to arrive? What can you bring as a gift?

Answers & Audioscripts

You are expected to arrive on time. You can bring flowers, but not red roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, or lilies.


Olivia:   What are some of the customs in Germany?

Klaus:   Well, when you’re invited to someone’s house, you can also take flowers. Not red roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, or lilies, but most other flowers are fine.

Olivia:   When should you arrive? Should you arrive a little early?

Klaus:   No, never. You’re expected to arrive on time. Punctuality is very important in Germany. If you’re going to be more than 15 minutes late, it’s important to call the host. It’s also the custom to write a short thank-you note the following day.

Olivia:   I like that. I wish we did that here more often. To me, it shows good manners.

Exercise 2

Listen to people describe customs they observed abroad. Complete the chart.


Where was the person?

What was the custom?

How did the person react?

1  Carla




2  Nate




3  Shauna




Answers & Audioscripts

1   Carla: Saudi Arabia; women cover their whole body and head; she felt uncomfortable but then started to like it

2   Nate: Spain; people eat late in the evening; he found it difficult for work the next day

3   Shauna: South Korea; people slurp soup and make noise; it bothered her but she got used to it


1   Carla

Carla:   I lived in Saudi Arabia for a while. Women put something over their head and wear clothing that covers the whole body. At first, I felt uncomfortable and found it a real nuisance, but after a while, I got used to it and even started to like it. You feel really secure, and you also don’t have to worry about what to wear all the time.

2   Nate

Nate:   When I lived in Spain, I was surprised at how late in the evening people eat. When you’re invited to dinner, you’re expected to come around nine o’clock, and you usually don’t start dinner until ten. And people stay really late – sometimes until two in the morning or even later. I found that difficult. How do you get up and go to work the next day after eating and talking until three in the morning?

3   Shauna

Shauna:   One thing that I had to get used to when I was traveling in South Korea was the way people make noise when they drink soup. I think it’s because they want to show that they’re really enjoying their food so they make a slurping noise. It bothered me at first, but then I got used to it. I guess it’s because when I was growing up, it wasn’t acceptable to make noise at the dinner table.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This