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3 Cultural Customs To Observe While You Teach English In India

by Vicky Price

Having the opportunity to teach English in a foreign country can be exciting and educational. To make the most of your trip, it's essential that you become familiar with some of the cultural customs that will be practiced in your new home prior to your departure.    

If you plan to share your knowledge of the English language with people in India, here are three customs you should observe during your stay.

1. When visiting a Hindu temple, be sure that you dress appropriately.

Even though temperatures in India might make you think that wearing shorts and a tank top are appropriate, these clothing items should be left behind if you make the trek to a Hindu temple while you are working in India.

Men should wear slacks and a collared shirt, and women should wear a long, loose skirt and modest top. Your shoes should be easy to remove, since you will be taking them off before entering the temple. Dressing appropriately when visiting a Hindu temple shows respect for the religious practices of the people you will be teaching English to.

2. Try to avoid public displays of affection.

If your significant other will be accompanying you as you teach English in India, it's important that you remember the conservative nature of the population.

Although India is slowly adopting more modern views on hugging and kissing in public areas, Victorian Values are still a strong part of the Indian culture. It's best to avoid public displays of affection with your significant other if you want to avoid offending the citizens around you.

3. Be sure you are using the correct hand to eat.

Eating without utensils is common in India, so you will likely be faced with a situation where you will be eating with your hands during your time as a teacher. To ensure that you are abiding by cultural customs, eat only with your right hand.

The left hand is considered unclean because it is used by the Indian people to clean oneself after defecation. If you are left-handed, you might want to start practicing with your right hand so that you will be ready to enjoy a meal with your native pupils when you arrive in India.

Having the opportunity to teach English in India can provide you with a glimpse into a culture that is vastly different from your own. Being prepared to observe customs like wearing proper clothing to a Hindu temple, avoiding public displays of affection, and eating with your right hand will help you feel more at home in India.