The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

Saudi Arabia Brands Feminists, Atheists and Homosexuals as 'Extremists'

saudiextremismposter

Be warned! Saudi Arabia is a confusing and contradictory place at the moment.

If you’re involved in doing business in Saudi Arabia, then you need to be aware of some of the current changes taking place at a cultural level.

Continue reading
  170 Hits

What Behaviours are Rude in the Middle East?

Arab-men-drink-tea

If you’re travelling to the Middle East on business, and want to make a good impression, then it’s important you understand behaviours which are considered rude – or even taboo.

The Middle East is a large region, made up of many different countries – and hence cultures.

Continue reading
  275 Hits

How Do Businesses Negotiate in Saudi Arabia?

saudi-men-talking

Imagine that you’re presented with an unfamiliar board game and told to play it.

Unfortunately, you don’t understand the rules and irritate the other players by making mistakes and getting things wrong.

Continue reading
  357 Hits

How Does Islam Impact Doing Business in the Middle East?

Islam-MiddleEast

Are you new to doing business with the Middle East? Understanding the local culture is critical if you want to succeed.

In order to truly understand the locals, then you need to understand Islam and its influence on, not only the culture, but how business gets done.

Continue reading
  278 Hits

How Should I Address People in the Middle East?

arab-naming-etiquette

Are you travelling to the Arab world for business or working with Arab clients/colleagues?

Need to know what to call people and how to address them? Then this blog is exactly what you’ve been searching for!

Continue reading
  356 Hits

How does the Diversity of the Middle East Shape Cultural Sensitivity Training?

yemeni-tribesmen

When it comes to cultural sensitivity training, it’s a little misleading to think of Middle Eastern culture as something homogenous. 

Why?  Because the Middle East is a melting pot of ethnicities, languages and religions.  These elements all fuse together to give us a rich cultural tapestry.

Continue reading
  775 Hits

What’s it Like to be a Woman in Saudi Arabia?

saudi-women-niqab-in-cinema

Despite a history of limiting the visibility of women, the application of harsh gender laws have instead made them the most visible part of the Saudi identity.

As such, when many Westerners think of Saudi Arabia, niqab clad women without any rights, are one of the first images that come to mind.

Continue reading
  546 Hits

Supermodel Accused of Racism Over Cultural Faux Pas

Supermodel Accused of Racism Over Cultural Faux Pas

Did you hear about the supermodel, the airport lounge and the cultural faux pas that caused uproar in Saudi Arabia and the UAE?

No? Well this is a great little example of culture gone wrong!

Continue reading
  762 Hits

Why Do Middle Eastern Men Wear a Chequered Head-dress?

Why Do Middle Eastern Men Wear a Chequered Head-dress?

A common question foreigners moving to or working in the Middle East ask at cultural awareness training sessions is, "Why do the men wear the head-dress?"

Great question! So let's discover more about the reasons behind it.

Continue reading
  5152 Hits

What are the Most Common Causes of Culture Shock for Expats Moving to the Middle East?

What are the Most Common Causes of Culture Shock for Expats Moving to the Middle East?

Providing relocation training for expats moving to the Middle East means that we get to hear a great deal about people’s experiences in their new home country.

Although moving to the Middle East can be an incredibly positive experience, it goes without saying that adapting to new cultures and ways of doing things can be a challenge.

Continue reading
  871 Hits

What Cultural Differences Can an American Expat Find When Moving to The Middle East?

What Cultural Differences Can an American Expat Find When Moving to The Middle East?

The Middle East is as culturally diverse as the USA, which makes it difficult to talk about Middle Eastern culture as something homogenous.

What we will do, however, is to pick a few cultural differences which are shared across most of the Middle East and which are more likely to trip North Americans up when working in the region.

Continue reading
  519 Hits

What does Google Search Data tell us about Culture in Saudi Arabia?

What does Google Search Data tell us about Culture in Saudi Arabia?

For those of you interested in the Saudi people and culture, Google Search Engine data is a great starting point.

By looking at what people in Saudi Arabia are searching for online, you can establish a good understanding of what’s important to the Saudi people and, from this, draw inferences about the culture and life in Saudi Arabia.

Continue reading
  5448 Hits

Doing Business in Saudi Arabia? How to Make a Good Impression

Doing Business in Saudi Arabia? How to Make a Good Impression

Saudi Arabia is on a mission.

Their ambitious 2030 Vision seeks to create an economy for the future based around trade and tourism.

Continue reading
  671 Hits

Being Clueless about UAE Culture Won’t Protect You from Punishment

Being Clueless about UAE Culture Won’t Protect You from Punishment

A survey by the UAE’s security magazine, 999, has shown that most expatriates visiting the UAE are doing so while blind to UAE cultural customs and traditions.

Seven out of ten of the 2,000 expatriates included in the survey claimed to not understand local Emirati culture and traditions.

Continue reading
  944 Hits

Dismantling Stereotypes of Saudi Arabia

Dismantling Stereotypes of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has become an almost permanent fixture in Western news.

With the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the continued carnage in the Yemen which threatens to spiral into the worst global famine this generation, the spotlight placed on Saudi Arabia has been almost completely negative.

Continue reading
  1616 Hits

Hospitality, Food & Friendship in Arab Business Culture

Hospitality, Food & Friendship in Arab Business Culture

Being a good host is a central part of life in the Middle East and it is an underpinning value that everyone in the region shares.

The roots of this can be found in the tribal system whereby treating guests well is traditionally a way of gaining honour.

Continue reading
  1518 Hits

Honour, Face & Shame in Arab Culture

Honour, Face & Shame in Arab Culture

Doing business in the Middle East? Then you need to understand the role of honour in the Arab world.

The concept of personal dignity, honour and protecting one’s reputation is very important in the Middle East.

Continue reading
  2021 Hits

Understanding the Arab Middle East - Identity, Roots and Values

Understanding the Arab Middle East - Identity, Roots and Values

As with any people, the Arabs look to the past for their sense of identity.

Arab history is tied to tribalism and the nomadic life of the desert. Although in most places the nomadic lifestyle has all but disappeared, the influence of the desert and especially the importance of tribal identity are still prominent today.

Continue reading
  1919 Hits

Fighting Witchcraft in Saudi Arabia

Fighting Witchcraft in Saudi Arabia

For many Western cultures, witches are an innocuous subject.

Long gone are the days where innocent women were dragged from their homes to be burned at the stake.

Continue reading
  2253 Hits

Gift Giving Etiquette in the Middle East

Gift Giving Etiquette in the Middle East

The giving and receiving of gifts is an important part of professional and personal life in the Middle East.

Closely tied up with the need to maintain relationships and as a way of gaining and giving face, gift giving bonds people together.

Continue reading
  10630 Hits