Cultural Norms Explained with Fasten Seat Belts

Do you wonder what is acceptable behavior in China?  Is it okay to hold the palm of your hand out towards someone in Greece?  Do Italians “knock on wood?”  FastenSeatBelts demystifies these international cultural norms in short, easy-to-understand videos.  For example, check out this video which explains why one should avoid touching or passing things over someone’s head in Thailand.

The site is the result of an international collaboration between different governmental agencies and a Belgian film company.  The site can be searched by continent (Europe or Asia), by country or by different themes (bar culture, gifts, body language, etc).  The videos have even been compiled into a free iPhone app called Dos and Don’ts.

Educationally, this site would be a great asset for those people who plan to travel abroad this year.  It would also be beneficial for foreign language teachers who want to show cultural practices from other countries.  As someone who studies social media, I like the site because it demonstrates the educational value of streaming video and the tremendous power that these sites hold.  I also appreciate the project’s stated objective of using innovative communication tools and learning methods to teach through entertainment.  It’s definitely a goal that more educators could embrace.

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