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#SmartStudent: How to live in a foreign city

Our #SmartStudent series brings you simple tips that help you ease into life as an international student and be a responsible resident of the country you have chosen to study in.
BY Cherryy Chauhan |   04-07-2017

When you’re abroad, it is important to follow guidelines on not just how to be a good student, and a good roommate, but also how to be a good citizen. Many of the rules for being a good citizen are rarely spelt out as rules. Most of these are guidelines to good public behaviour. But, many people remain unaware of the basic codes of public conduct when they travel, study, or work abroad.

However, once you’ve settled down, and found a place to kick-start the new phase of your life, it’s time to get the explorer’s hat on. Understanding and adapting to the customs of a new place helps you ease into your environment, no matter how different it is from home. Moreover, it earns you both respect and friendship from the locals. As they say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Here are a few tips to help you mind your manners when abroad:

  1. Queue up
    The first rule of good public behaviour is to learn to stand in a queue. Remember that everybody is in the same boat as you – whether to get the latest iPhone, or tickets to Star Trek. So, do not attempt to jump ahead, cut in between, or display excessive signs of frustration. It’s unmannerly and impolite and looked upon disfavourably.
     
  2. Hold the door
    It’s considered quite chivalrous to hold the door for the person behind you. This simple act of kindness, the gesture of holding a door open signals polite courtesy, and attentiveness to other people.

    Needless to say, it’s an etiquette that should be followed irrespective of the place or gender of the person for whom you hold the door open.
     
  3. On the escalator
    An escalator is an essential element of the daily commute. And so, it has its own customs of use. Choosing which side to ride is important.  If you are planning to walk on the escalator, stand on the left side. Stand on the right, if you do not wish to move.
     
  4. Mobile-free zone
    Have cell phone, must have manners. While it might seem like common sense, people still ignore ‘mobile-free zone’ notices. But, please avoid using your phones in silent sections – whether it is the library, or the lecture-hall, or the lab. You will get either frowns or warnings.

    However, even in areas which are not specified as ‘mobile-free zones’ like the university reception or museums, it is better to keep your mobile on vibration mode or a low-volume ringtone.

    In other words, respect quiet spaces, and avoid loud public cell-phone conversations.
     
  5. Never litter

    This one is total no-go. Do not discard waste, or create a mess. Remember there will be no one to pick up and clean after you. Countries abroad take littering very seriously. Not only is it frowned upon, it may actually be punishable with a fine. So, you may want to mend your ways from day 1 for this.
 

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