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1. Unfriendly nation
A. The French like conversation. When you are speaking to French people, do not be surprised if they keep interrupting you and even raise their voices; it is quite normal. French people shake hands much more than Americans or most Europeans; if you fail to shake hands, you may be considered rude. You shouldn’t sit down in the café until you’ve shaken hands with everyone you know. A woman in France will offer her hand first.
B. I like how Americans raise their children. They raise them to be independent. It is part of American culture. Small children learn to do things on their own. They learn to take care of themselves, clean their rooms, help with the dishes and the laundry, spend time away from their parents in day-care or with a baby-sitter. Most teens try to find summer or after school jobs, so that they can have their own money.
C. Russians have many superstitions which are often taken seriously. But they are fun. For example: meeting a woman with empty buckets — bad luck; a feeling of your face or ears burning means that someone is talking about you. Before leaving on a journey they sit down quietly for a few moments together. But this superstition is very reasonable. It helps to concentrate all one’s thoughts and attention and not to leave anything important at home, tickets, for example.
D. Of course, punctuality is a necessary habit in the life of a civilized society. Without it, nothing could ever be brought to a conclusion. But how do different nationalities understand it? If you have arranged a birthday party, what time should you expect your foreign guests to arrive? If they are German, they’ll be on time. If they are British, they’ll come 10 or 15 minutes late — this gives hosts time to finish their preparations. And you should allow up to an hour for the Italians.
E. In various parts of Germany, if you arrive at dinner table and you cannot shake everyone’s hands because you’ll have to stretch across the table, the Germany guest will tap his knuckles lightly on the table to signal his greeting to everyone. This same gesture also applies to when the person leaves the table. Also, university students use this gesture in order to greet their professors in a classroom.
F. Don’t believe all the stories about how unfriendly the English are. In a train or café, anywhere really, they will talk to you, but you must ‘break the ice’ first. Then see them talk. Any subject will do — the weather, their dogs, the Common Market, food. But don’t be curious about their private life. Never ask them how much money they earn. This would be considered very rude unless you know the person very well. Don’t ask about their age and weight. Avoid religion, too. They also don’t like talking about politics, but if they do, they usually speak on this subject in a very general way.
G. I’ve been in England quite a long time now. What differences do I notice between Russia and England? Of course, the biggest difference is people. The average Englishman is rather reserved. He is friendly, but he doesn’t try to be friendly too soon. The land and climate in Britain don’t have any extremes. Neither do people.
A – 3
B – 5
C – 7
D – 2
E – 8
F – 6
G – 4