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Western Europe Educates People About Polite Behavior
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Western Europe Educates People About Polite Behavior

Europe teaches people how to behave. When you come to visit a european countries as a tourist, you are are often greeted by a letter telling what you can and cannot do. What a horrible way to start a holiday!


Voiced by Ben Cohen

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There are many refugees from the Middle East right now. These refugees are also called asylum seekers because they are looking for a safe place to live. Many of these refugees are moving to countries in Western Europe. There is a new problem happening in Western Europe because of the large number of refugees in their new homes. Many countries in Western Europe understand that the refugees are from very different cultures than their own. As a result, some countries in Europe are teaching asylum seekers about their culture.

In Salzburg, Austria many hotels keep pamphlets in rooms. These small books teach guests about the local culture in Salzburg. The pamphlet has many tips and pieces of advice. For example, the pamphlet teaches tourists that women wear whatever clothes they want to, and that, many times, a woman wears brightly colored clothing. This clothing might show a lot of the woman's skin. This fact is culturally acceptable in Salzburg. People think this is okay behavior.

In Finland, the government teaches culture classes to asylum seekers. Men and women come to class to learn about how Finnish people behave. The class gives information to refugees about Finnish culture. Some topics taught in class are about how men and women interact in Finland. In Finnish culture, it is acceptable for a woman to go to a dance club without her husband or male family member.

The goal of these pamphlets and classes is to teach newcomer refugees about the new culture they will be living in. I think that this is a positive goal. However, I am not sure that I love this idea. I think I only like this idea. I don't completely support these culture classes because I worry that people might lose their original culture. On one hand, I think it is important for foreigners to learn about the new culture they are living in. On the other hand, I feel that telling a person how to behave is insensitive and it might upset people.

In Finland, the goal is to teach long-term residents about their new home. However, in Salzburg, the goal is to tell short-term visitors how to behave. The people who are reading the pamphlets in Salzburg are not residents. The people who are reading the pamphlets in Salzburg are short-term, temporary tourists. These people might only be in Salzburg for a few days. However, these tourists are greeted by a letter telling them what they can and cannot do. What a horrible way to start a holiday! To top it all off, the pamphlet is only printed in Arabic, so the pamphlet is only for Arabic speakers. In my opinion, Salzburg should not target Arabic speakers only. Many tourists from a variety of countries visit Salzburg, Austria. It makes me upset that the pamphlet is only written for one group. Plus, people who speak Arabic are not all the same culture!

I think it's wonderful that countries are trying to teach newcomers about their culture. However, I hope the teaching happens in a respectful way that is equal for everyone from all cultures.