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Old 09-01-2011, 05:46 PM
 
2,502 posts, read 7,883,333 times
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Hello everyone. I'm currently working on somewhat of a personal project - I'm attempting to understand and create a detailed outline of the cultural differences that exist between the various European countries (in terms of lifestyle, ideologies, religion, family life, customs, etc). There are many countries to consider, so this is going to be quite the daunting task, I'm sure. But I did something similar with Asian countries a few years ago, and it was actually a lot of fun, I thoroughly enjoyed myself (unfortunately, all my hard work was lost when my former computer crashed ).

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone could recommend any particular resources or websites that I may want to consult? I tend to prefer using recommended sources (rather than taking a gamble and hoping I find something helpful on Google...).

Alternately, if anyone here lives in (or has spent significant time in) a European country, I would love to hear your perception of how your culture is different from those of other European countries.
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Old 09-02-2011, 06:15 AM
 
Location: France
156 posts, read 314,880 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
Hello everyone. I'm currently working on somewhat of a personal project - I'm attempting to understand and create a detailed outline of the cultural differences that exist between the various European countries (in terms of lifestyle, ideologies, religion, family life, customs, etc). There are many countries to consider, so this is going to be quite the daunting task, I'm sure. But I did something similar with Asian countries a few years ago, and it was actually a lot of fun, I thoroughly enjoyed myself (unfortunately, all my hard work was lost when my former computer crashed ).

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone could recommend any particular resources or websites that I may want to consult? I tend to prefer using recommended sources (rather than taking a gamble and hoping I find something helpful on Google...).

Alternately, if anyone here lives in (or has spent significant time in) a European country, I would love to hear your perception of how your culture is different from those of other European countries.
Oh, where do I start?

I live in Romania, a former communist country.
A lot of our cultural features come from the fact that we have had some major influences coming from very different cultures. First there were the dacians and the romans, but I am not gonna bore you with those details - enough to say that at the core we are latins. But, unlike France, or Italy or Spain, we have had some major influences from Russia and Turkey. Our language has slavic words and some words that come from the turkish culture also.

Being a former communist country, there are a lot of residual feelings left from that period. Many older people regret those times because things were easier for them then (or so they think now). Because of all the restrictons communism implied, many of them really have no will power to speak their mind; they are still waiting for the state to solve all their problems and don't understand the stress the young ones go through (because there is no job security and life is very hard, especially financially speaking).

Family is very important to us, it is very common to have more than one generation living under the same roof (usually 2, but also 3). The parents think they need to help their kids even when said kids are well into their 30s or 40s; you won't find here the mentality that says that you teach your child how to behave in the real world and then you just let him go. After they finish college, kids don't have to leave home, they can stay with the parents until they get married or even after that. Teenagers don't have to work, actually parents wouldn't agree with that (because they have to concentrate on school, they say), and they wouldn't have the time anyway, since school hours are very long.
Nowdays things are staring to change (as in more kids leaving home and going their own way), but it is a slow process.

We are very religious, but that doesn't mean we go to church every week, except the elder women, maybe. We believe in God, but we have a belief sistem that doesn't necesarilly have to do with being an orthodox (our official religion).
Many parts of the country still preserve a lot of old habits (the villages where things are made a certain way); if you travel through a romanian village you feel like time has stopped, the life is simpler and people can still enjoy the fresh air and a stress free life.

Education is very important, the big majority of teenagers go to college, but not all colleges are very good academically, so having a college diploma is something anybody could achieve if they have some money. Foreing languages are also very important for us, almost everybody who has finished highschool has at least some knoledge of english and most of the college graduates know at least 2 foreign languages.

There is a lot of prejudice when it comes to Romania in the western society, because of the gipsies. What the rest of the world doesn't understand is the fact that not all gipsies are thieves, there are also hardworking men out there, but you won't see them in the press, because they are normal people minding their own business; oh, yeah, and romanians aren't gipsies. We, too, are tired of seeing the ones who are lound or dirty, but we can't just banish them from the face of the Earth (remember Hitler?). And of course, there are the ones who have never heard of Romania or think we are some starving people who still live in caves, but they are either ignorant or haven't had the time or need to find out more about us (which is fine, since I barely know anything about half this world, too)
Food is very important for us, also, we do have some traditional dishes. Cooking is very common, going to restaurants is more like a treat (I am talking for the majority of people here).

The youth is very interested in all that has to do with the western society, we pretty much hate the russians (yes, we do, because in our minds they brought communism and so on). We love travelling and experiencing, Internet is our best source of information, we go to the movies, but not to the theatre, we reed less and less every day and we try to make the best out of this crazy world.
We love football (or soccer, how the americans call it), drinking beer, going to clubs (the young ones), we postpone marriage until in our late 20s, early 30s, we have less kids then our parents, we have mortgages, we eat at McDonalds's but we love nothing like mom's home cooked meal and so on...

I don't know what else I can say, there are so many things to write about. I hope this helped you. I don't know any decent site ou there about Romania, but maybe someone else could help you with that.

Anyway, good luck with your research and I hope this time you use backups

Last edited by sparkk2chane; 09-02-2011 at 06:24 AM..
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Old 09-02-2011, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Earth
24,639 posts, read 24,056,977 times
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[offtopic] I spent several weeks in Romania this summer; what a wonderful country. [/off topic].

As resources, you might want to listen to different folk music and read some different travel books. Southern Italy is very different from Northern Italy in a cultural sense; borders tend to merge two/three cultures.

Good luck, I'm interested in your results.
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Old 09-02-2011, 08:01 AM
 
Location: West Coast of Europe
19,865 posts, read 18,308,470 times
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There already is a similar thread on the differences between Western countries, where a.o. various European countries are compared...
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Old 09-02-2011, 11:46 AM
 
13,817 posts, read 12,600,955 times
Reputation: 6460
Quote:
Originally Posted by radraja View Post
Hello everyone. I'm currently working on somewhat of a personal project - I'm attempting to understand and create a detailed outline of the cultural differences that exist between the various European countries (in terms of lifestyle, ideologies, religion, family life, customs, etc). There are many countries to consider, so this is going to be quite the daunting task, I'm sure. But I did something similar with Asian countries a few years ago, and it was actually a lot of fun, I thoroughly enjoyed myself (unfortunately, all my hard work was lost when my former computer crashed ).

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone could recommend any particular resources or websites that I may want to consult? I tend to prefer using recommended sources (rather than taking a gamble and hoping I find something helpful on Google...).

Alternately, if anyone here lives in (or has spent significant time in) a European country, I would love to hear your perception of how your culture is different from those of other European countries.
You might find easier identifiable cultural differences between Eastern and Western European countries, but after that the lines are not so clearly cut ( as they used to be,) because the world increasingly is becoming smaller.
Not that the subtle ( and not so subtle) differences do not exist, but it's not something that can be easily put on paper with definitely outlined points. One must have to live enough in foreign culture, to figure out how it differs from his/her own; what people might find funny or offensive, who are the national heroes, what information the classical literature/famous authors of any culture bring across, what beliefs ( fairy-tales) children are raised on, what food do they prefer and why, how the importance of the family regarded in each and every culture (importance of the extended family and what's not) and so on. With another words culture - is something one must often FEEL; it's not always something that can be put on paper and taught at "multicultural" lessons. The only time it can be really taught in extent, is when cultures are distinctively different from each other, like Western cultures and the cultures of the Third world countries. Or say the difference between Eastern Europe and Western Europe, or like say Latin countries vs Germanic countries ( to a lesser and lesser extent in the modern world.)
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:00 PM
 
2,502 posts, read 7,883,333 times
Reputation: 883
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neuling View Post
There already is a similar thread on the differences between Western countries, where a.o. various European countries are compared...
Ahh, you're right! I searched through 10 pages of threads before posting this one, so I can't believe I missed it. I must be going blind.

(And thanks for the input everyone! I'll try to remember to come back on and post my findings, although it may take awhile for me to finish...)
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Old 09-02-2011, 03:41 PM
 
Location: San Antonio/Houston
33,542 posts, read 51,750,301 times
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Googled your title :
http://www.eui.eu/Projects/ACCEPT/Do...tiveReport.pdf
Europe
Europe culture
Eupedia : Your Guide to Europe in English
Leadership Development - Results focused Leadership thinking and practice from around the Globe (http://www.leader-values.com/Content/detail.asp?ContentDetailID=72 - broken link)
Growing Global, where even smaller enterprises can think big
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