The Cultural Trip to the Saudi Arabia
If I intended a trip to Saudi Arabia, I would be most concerned about not violating the norms of reverence and respect as rooted in the host culture. First of all, I would do my best not to appear disdainful by using practices common in my culture but objectionable among the Arab people. For instance, I would keep in mind the deeply respectful “attitude toward the elderly” characteristic for Arabs as a whole and Saudi Arabia, in particular.
Therefore, I would try to avoid slang or other indications of informal behavior when interacting with the elderly so that I would not appear as disrespecting their roles as the bearers of the cultural heritage. That would require mastering small talk and other mundane interactions according to Arab cultural norms, which is why I would also pay specific attention to which topics are appropriate in a polite conversation and which are not. That would involve re-evaluating conversational practices I am used to in a different cultural context to reduce the possibility of breaking any conversational taboos.
For example, I would thoroughly avoid asking a stranger about his family, as doing this in Saudi Arabia “can cause considerable offense”. Additionally, I would have to pay attention to my gestures and poses – for instance, not crossing legs showing the sole of the boot, as it may also constitute an offensive display. To summarize, my journey to Saudi Arabia would require acquainting myself with all types of different practices, conversational of otherwise, that are frowned upon in the host culture, and avoiding them upon my arrival.