Today’s blog comes to you from Madelyn Richards from Texas A&M University! Need a quick guide on understanding life in Greece? Read below to see what all Madelyn has learned so far in her short time in Greece!
4 Tips on How to Blend in to the Greek Culture
1. Try not be too loud. One of the first things I noticed is that we, as a culture, speak in much louder tones than the Greek’s. For the most part, the native Greek’s keep very low voices in restaurants, cafés, stores, etc. to keep their conversations more intimate. When our group, excited to be in Greece and share our experiences with our new friends, come into a restaurant and talk at our usual loud tones, we attract a lot of attention to ourselves. Even though it feels weird at first, try your best to avoid little things like, for example, shouting across the table to talk to one of your friends.
2. Be ready to spend a couple of hours in a restaurant! At practically every restaurant in the US, getting in and out in 45 minutes or sometimes less is a norm. However, the Greek culture is less rushed than that of the United States, allowing, and expecting, customers to spend 3 to 4 hours at a restaurant to spend some quality time with family and friends. Even though it is frustrating at first, feeling like it takes an eternity to receive the check, take the opportunity to put your phones down and get to know more about your friends!
3. Avoid certain hand signals. I was shocked to learn that extending your arm with your hand in a “stop” mannerism is the most insulting signal one can give in the Greek culture. This made me a little nervous at first, because I personally do this a lot when crossing the street to let cars know I am about to cross so they will stop for me. However, simply being aware of this has helped me avoid the mannerism overall.
4. Learn a few common phrases before you depart. Even though this is not essential, the Greek people love it when you can speak a little bit of their native language. Not only does it make you feel more involved in the culture, but it shows the locals that you are trying to ever so slightly accommodate and assimilate into their sacred culture.