Travelling to all corners of the world gets easier & easier. We live in a global village, but how well do we know & understand each other? You should know a character of people of a country where you are going to travel. As I learn English & I myself Russian I would like to compare English & Russian character.
Some greetings in England & in Russia are very informal: a simple “good morning” or a wave of the hand across the street is quite enough. In England handshakes are only exchanged on a first introduction, in Russia men always shake hands to each other when they are meeting. English people do not readily ask each other to do anything. If they do ask, then they say something like “I don’t really like asking you, but…” In contrast, Russian are not shy in asking for something.
In England, it is considered polite to give up one’s seat to a woman who is standing, to open door for her, carry things for her, & so on. Russian is not polite nation, it means that they don’t give up a seat for a women & even for old people & of course they will never open door or carry things for somebody.
The best-known quality of the English is reserve. A reserved person is one, who does not talk very much to strangers, does not show much emotion. If English people are making journey by train, they will try to find an empty compartment. If they have to share the compartment with a stranger, they may travel many miles without starting a conversation. If a conversation does start personal questions like “How old are you?” or even “What is your name?” are not easily asked. Questions like “Where did you buy this watch?” or “What is your salary?” are impossible. Russian person hardly will be looking for an empty compartment & I think there are no empty compartments in Russia. Russian person will begin conversation at once & speak to you about everything from your new watch up to politics & global problems in the world. Maybe while speaking Russian people will be drinking some strong drinks, for example vodka or beer. It is known that in Russia you must drink if you are suggested or they will think that you are unfriendly.
Closely related with English reserve is English modesty. If the person is, let us say, very good in golf, & someone asks him if he is a good player, he will probably give an answer like “I’m not bad”, or “I think I’m quite good”. I don’t think that Russian people are very modest.
The famous English sense of humor is similar. They laugh at oneself – at one’s own faults. “He is a man of humor” or “he has no sense of humor” is often heard in Britain, where humor is so highly prized. Many Russian people & I don’t understand English humor & think that Russian humor is better.
In recent years in Britain smoking has received a lot of bad publicity, & fewer British people now smoke. It considered rude to smoke someone’s house without asking “Do you mind if I smoke?” In Russia you can smoke almost everywhere. The majority of Russian people smoke.
In some countries it is considered bad manners to eat in the streets, but both in Britain & in Russia it is common to see people having snack whilst walking down the road.
The British regard (полагать) their community as the center of the world. The British look at foreigners in general with contempt (презрение) & think that nothing is as well done as well as in their own country.
So English & Russian characters are very different. That’s why you have to llearn an etiquette of other country to not to look impolite.