Compare and contrast the cultures of the UK and your own country
It is imperative that every country should promote citizens to protect their cultures and identities. This is because recognition of a nation’s civilization is extremely important. Every country has a different culture because of national differences and history. Culture can be defined as the values, beliefs and perceptions of a group of people. History, tradition and religion are the main influences on culture. Even though there are some comparisons between the cultures of Saudi Arabia and the UK, there are an even greater number of differences. This essay will analyze some of the main aspects of the cultures such as people, business, sport, food and use of the internet.
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As far as people are concerned, in both countries the majority of people tend to be friendly and helpful. In the University of Glamorgan it has been seen that all the teaching staff do the best they can to help their students, as was found in previous staff at a university in Saudi Arabia. One of the good cultures of British people is that they tend to smile at passersby. This is also one of the major characteristics of Saudi Arabian culture, partly because of Islam. However, one of the major differences is that in the UK children do not respect older generations. This is likely to be because of their upbringing, where parents did not teach them about respect. (Vexen, 2004) In addition to upbringing, the media plays an influential role by celebrating famous people who behave inappropriately. The contrast is that in Saudi Arabia children must be respectful of older generations. This is because of religious reasons and a good upbringing from their parents. It is important that people in the UK address the way they raise their children.
In relation to business, the similarity between Saudi Arabian and UK businesses is that their objectives are to grow their sales internationally. As a result, business trade is increasingly prevalent between Saudi Arabia and the UK. Despite this similarity, misunderstanding culture can have a detrimental effect on business relations. This was illustrated where, according to “an Accenture study, two-thirds of 200 US business executives said that miscommunication arising from cultural differences has caused problems when outsourcing offshore.” (Silicon.com, 2006) This study shows an example of a possible impact of not understanding each other’s cultures in business and trade.
Regarding sport, people in Saudi Arabia tend to play football, as do people in the UK. There are many beautiful stadiums in the UK such as the new Cardiff stadium, and the same was found in Saudi Arabia for example King Fahad stadium in Riyadh. The majority of the people watching football in both countries also tend to be interested in playing football. However, it is not allowed for women in Saudi Arabia to play football for religious reasons. Meanwhile, in the UK, England is one of the best women’s teams in the world. (Ezine Articles, 2007) Although at the moment there are no women playing football in Saudi Arabia, it is likely they will do in the future with specific circumstances.
In terms of food, the majority of people in both countries tend to eat fast food. This is because life is getting faster and busier, meaning people have less time for cooking. For example, people go to McDonalds and KFC to have a quick lunch in both Saudi Arabia and the UK. One of the major influences is globalization. The main contrast is that Halal meat is absolutely essential in Saudi Arabia for religious reasons, while any meat can be eaten in the UK. Halal meat is killed in a humane way, and the UK could adopt eating Halal meat to be more respectful to animals. (Executive Planet, 2007)
With reference to use of the internet there is a great demand in both countries. This is because the internet is essential for modern life, covering all needs. In particular the internet makes the world into a global village through easy and fast communications. However, there is a clear contrast between using the internet in the UK and in Saudi Arabia. This is because the media in the UK is almost free of restrictions but in Saudi Arabia the media is under control of the government. For example, according to Alfred Hermida’s article, research from the Harvard Law School discovered that 2,000 websites were blocked by the Saudi government. Alfred Hermida writes that “Most of the blacklisted sites were sexually explicit or about religion. But also caught in the net were sites about women, health, drugs and pop culture.” (BBC, 2002). The reason websites about women, such as iVillage, were blocked was for cultural and religious reasons. It is not allowed in Islam to describe the bodies of women in general. It is also likely that the websites contained swearing which is also forbidden. Websites about drugs will have been filtered because the use of drugs is prohibited by the law of Islam. Sites containing pop culture are likely to be restricted because they can lead to extra marital relations according to Islam. This is believed to happen because mainly young people will be influenced by the people in the content. In the UK it has been observed that internet users are free to use almost any website they wish. Some websites are dangerous for children, in particular pornographic websites, and it is logical for parents and governments to control them, to protect our children.
In conclusion, even though there are some clear similarities between the cultures of both countries, there are also many differences. These differences are largely because of religion and history. In the future it is likely that the relationship between the cultures will change. It is very probable that in the future women in Saudi Arabia will campaign for more human rights, similar to those women in the UK enjoy. Furthermore, in the future we will undoubtedly find more Arabic restaurants in the UK. These changes will be most probably influenced by the internet, hi-tech and migration between Saudi Arabia and the UK. One of the most valuable recommendations is that if we respect each other’s cultures we will live in an ideal community. My wish is that every citizen in Saudi Arabia and the UK will live in a satisfactory way.
BBC (2002) Saudis block 2,000 websites. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/2153312.stm [accessed 18 August 2009]
Executive Planet (2007) Your guide to Saudi Arabia. Available from: http://www.executiveplanet.com/index.php?title=Saudi_Arabia [accessed 20 August 2009]
Ezine Aticles (2007) England’s Women’s footballers – 12th Best In The World? Available from: http://ezinearticles.com/?Englands-Womens-Footballers—12th-Best-In-The-World?&id=565503 [accessed 18 August 2009]
Silicon.com (2006) Cultural differences cause offshoring problems. Two-thirds of execs say it’s the main reason deals run into trouble… Available from: http://services.silicon.com/offshoring/0,3800004877,39160348,00.htm [accessed 23 August 2009]
Vexen (2004) An analysis of UK trash culture. Available from: http://www.vexen.co.uk/UK/trashculture.html [accessed 22 August 2009]
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