Cultural tips for group trips

         Cultural tips for group trips to Uganda

                         Here are tips for cultural sensitivity. 

Preparing for Culture Shock- Uganda group trip etiquette-cultural norms in Uganda

Most things we do every day are done without much thought. They are routine. Once you leave your familiar surroundings and enter into Ugandan or African culture, however, virtually everything will be different. Everything requires thought and everything can potentially be a trigger for culture shock—language, transportation, food, cleanliness, personal space, and even bathrooms.

– Uganda has a very diverse culture, with over 40 different ethnic groups. Each group has its own unique traditions and customs.

– The official language of Uganda is English, but the country has over 30 other indigenous languages. It is considered polite to greet people in their native language, and learning a few basic phrases can be very helpful.

– Ugandans are generally very friendly and welcoming, and they value respect and good manners. It is important to be polite and respectful when interacting with locals.

– Uganda is a predominantly Christian country, with about 85% of the population identifying as Christian. There are also small Muslim and Hindu communities. It is important to be respectful of religious traditions and customs when visiting religious sites.

– Uganda is a very conservative country, and it is important to dress modestly when visiting. Women should avoid revealing clothing, and men should avoid shorts and t-shirts.

– Uganda has a number of traditional ceremonies and festivals, such as the Eid al-Fitr and Christmas. It is a great opportunity to experience local culture, but it is important to be respectful and observe the proper etiquette.

– Uganda is a country with a rich and diverse history, and it is important to be aware of the country’s political

Here are some more cultural tips for Uganda tours:

1. Respect Your Elders (And Those in Authority)

While on a group trip to Uganda, respecting those who are in authority over you, such as the group leader or trip leader is of the utmost importance. They know the big picture and long-term plans for the projects you are working alongside and have legit reasons for the rules and instructions they give you.

2. Eat what’s On Your Plate, Don’t Be Wasteful, and Be Thankful

Eat what’s on your plate. If you don’t like it that’s okay, but keep that opinion to yourself. Be thankful that you have food to eat, and don’t be wasteful. Someone likely worked hard to prepare your food, and there are people in Uganda who would be grateful to have a plate of food sitting in front of you.

3. Be Polite

When you are polite to others, it makes us all feel more connected. So, as you are immersed in a different culture or community during your Uganda trip, be polite to friends and members of your team, as well as people you meet in the community.

4. Smile, Wave, and Be Friendly

Be aware of the facial expressions you are making and what they might look like to someone who doesn’t know you. As you are travelling and interacting with others, be aware of the signals your body language can give off. Even if you are feeling happy, a scowl on your face will tell others something different. Easy ways to be friendly with your body language are to smile often, relax your facial muscles, wave to strangers and greet them with a simple “Hello.” Chances are, even if they don’t speak the same language as you, they understand the greeting hello. Plus, a smile is universal: one language for the whole world.

5. Don’t Stare

Think about when someone stares at you: doesn’t it usually make you feel uncomfortable? On a group trip in Uganda, where EVERYTHING is different, you’ll want to stare at the new sites, people and activities around you – but don’t. However, observing is different from staring. Observe how a vendor sells bracelets, but don’t stare at him or her. If someone has a disability, is doing something new to you or is different in appearance, do not stare. Observe the daily life of the culture you are in, but be intentional about not staring at others.

6. Don’t Judge Others

To put it simply, judging is one of the most divisive things we can do to other people. When you judge someone due to their dress, culture, way of life, money, or material possessions, you put yourself above them. You create a divide between yourself and them. Worse than that, it is easy to judge someone before you get to know them. Keep an open mind about the new experiences you are having and the amazing people you are meeting and who knows, maybe they’ll teach you a thing or two!

7. Be Modest In Dress

When serving in another place, you want to be above the highest reproach. This means being respectful even to the most conservative of people, ensuring that nothing will form a barrier between you and their culture.

8. Ask for Permission If You Are Unsure

When questions come up about situations like travelling, purchasing things, leaving the group, or whether your shorts are long enough… ask! One of the easiest and best ways to avoid conflict and confusion is to ask permission or for advice, if you are unsure.

9. Say Please and Thank You

Simple, right? You’d think that. Something so simple in our own culture can sometimes get lost in another place. Whether due to being out of our normal circumstances, or feeling separated due to language barriers, please and thank you can be forgotten. If you are unsure how to say please and thank you in another language, ask someone for help. But at the very least, say it in your language anyway!

10. Keep Negative Opinions to Yourself

No one likes negativity and no one likes a complainer. This is doubly true when negative opinions pertain to personal issues like culture, daily lifestyle, clothing, food, or politics. You are a guest in Uganda. So if you have negative opinions, try to keep them to yourself. 

 Cross-Cultural Communication TED Talk