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What is the biggest culture shock you've experienced?


Hey there, adventurers!

Moving to a new country isn’t just about sorting out your work and finances; it’s a thrilling journey packed with delightful, often unexpected, surprises.

You may be well informed about the tipping culture in the US or about the prolonged summer breaks at workplaces throughout Europe, but did you know that in the UK, museums open their doors for free? Or that common breakfast items in Japan include fish and rice? Or that if you move to Sri Lanka, you will experience the thrill of commuting by Tuk Tuk

Photo by Mariana Proença on UnsplashPhoto by Mariana Proença on Unsplash

These are just a few quirks that make our world wonderfully diverse. And the great thing is that every country, region, and city has countless elements that will be sure to wow you, puzzle you, and drive you to think about life from different and new angles. 

Have you encountered peculiar traditions, surprising habits, or unique practices in your home or along your travels? We want to hear all about them! Share your surprising “cultural norms”  in the comments below, and let's celebrate the variety and diversity of the world together 🌍

To learn more about how Deel can help our Contractor community experience diverse cultures across the globe, make sure to tune in to our Digital Nomad Adventures webinar Thursday, November 2, 2023! 



oh this is a fun topic. When I was a (very uncultured) 7 or 8 old, I traveled to a rural part of China with my family. We were at a rather nice restaurant when I had to use the bathroom, so I asked my mom to go with me – this was my first encounter with a squat toilet. I was so shocked, I forgot I had to use the bathroom 😅 

Another pretty common thing in my culture is having jook/粥, or congee (like a delicious soupy rice), for breakfast.

Daisy what a fun one! I had a similar experience but going to Germany from Russia and not knowing how to flush a toilet with a button because at the time Russia was all squat type toilets and flush with a string. 

Also, I discovered jook when I worked at Palantir back in the day. It was an odd concept at first but then quickly became my favourite breakfast option. Especially when it’s colder. 

Fun fact from me… when I moved to Portugal I was unprepared that all restaurants close from 3-7 every day. And even worse most restaurants close for the winter on the Silver Coast because it’s off season. And there is no Uber. Or food delivery. Because I live in the ‘country’ 🤣


I had the chance to live in 7 countries in less than a decade 😉 exploring cities like Milan, Singapore, Dublin, San Francisco and Dubai. It is fascinating how cultures – it is always so enriching... I always arrived to each city with an open mind, so much curiosity and a real willingness to try new things, immersing into the local traditions and customs... You learn how to respect and tolerate others in the process... I know how to cook my pasta properly, tolerate very spicy food, leave my shoes outside the door when I step into my home nowadays – I took what I liked from each place I visited along the way...