Thursday, 6 July 2006

"(Here They Come) From All Over the World" - Jan & Dean, 1965

I taught a very interesting group of people in London yesterday and today. As the venue for this class was in London, I would have expected most of the 15 delegates to be British. But actually, only one was.

Just take a look at this list of the countries of birth of the students:

Azerbaijan
Austria
Bahrain
England
France
Germany (2)
India
Italy (2)
Kuwait
Romania
Russia
Switzerland
Venezuela

And, of course, I'm American!

It was like the United Nations in the training room!

But they got along beautifully...even considering that the two Germans and the two Italians were sitting on either side of the Frenchman, during the semi-finals of the World Cup!

I learn a lot about other cultures from my students, and you can imagine how many interesting conversations I have had the past two days. But one really stood out.

The Kuwaiti student was a young woman. She was wearing Western dress and especially lovely jewelry. I complimented the bead necklace she was wearing today. Rather than thanking me for the comment, as I might expect from an American or British woman, she responded by saying, "Oh....you like it....well, I can give it to you!"

Of course I declined, saying that no...I was just admiring it but really wanted her to keep it herself...and that I already had enough jewelry anyway!

Do any of Lord Celery's readers know if this is a typically Arab reaction, or was my student just an especially generous soul?

Janet

Still Listening To: "On An Island" - Dave Gilmour

2 Comments:

At 08 July, 2006 16:44 , Blogger Andrew said...

In some Arab cultures the admiration of an object makes the owner feel obligated to offer it as a gift, regardless of it's monetary or sentimental value. Which creates a bit of a minefield for visitors from the west where compliments are simply a social nicety.

 
At 13 July, 2006 23:17 , Blogger Adam said...

Generous but not unusual. Arabs are very hospitable and generous, in some cases. I think it does depend on your status as well.

 

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