50 Questions for Your Host Country/Culture

  1. How many people who are prominent in the affairs (politics, athletics, religion, arts, etc.) of the host country can you name?
  2. Who are the country’s national heroes and heroines?
  3. Can you recognize the country’s national anthem?
  4. Are other languages spoken there besides the dominant language? What are the social and political implications of language usage?
  5. What is the predominant religion? Is it a state religion?
  6. What are the most important religious observances and ceremonies? How regularly do people participate in them?
  7. How do members of the predominant religion feel about other religions?
  8. What are the most common forms of marriage ceremonies and celebrations?
  9. What is the attitude towards divorce? Extra-marital relations? Plural marriage?
  10. What is the attitude towards gambling?
  11. What is the attitude towards drinking?
  12. Is the price asked for merchandise fixed or are customers expected to bargain? How is bargaining conducted?
  13. If a customer handles or touches merchandise for sale, will the storekeeper think you are knowledgeable, inconsiderate, within your rights, completely outside your rights, etc.?
  14. How do people organize their daily activities? What is the normal meal schedule? Is there a daytime rest period? What is the customary time for visiting friends?
  15. What foods are most popular and how are they prepared?
  16. What things are taboo in this society?
  17. What is the usual dress for women? For men? Are pants or shorts worn? Do teenagers wear jeans?
  18. Do hairdressers use techniques similar to those used in the U.S.? How much time do you need to allow for an appointment at the hairdresser?
  19. What are the special privileges of age and/or sex?
  20. At what time is it adequate to come when you are invited?
  21. On what occasions would you present/accept gifts from people in the host culture? What type of gifts would be exchanged?
  22. Do some flowers have a particular significance?
  23. How do people greet each other (hand shake, kiss, embrace)? How do they take leave of one another?
  24. What are the important holidays and how is each observed?
  25. If you, as a student, were invited to a cocktail party, who would you expect to find amongst the guests (business people, men only, men and women, politicians, teachers, lawyers, shopkeepers, intellectuals, writers, religious clerics, members of the host family, in-laws, children, adults)?
  26. What are popular leisure and recreational activities for adults? Students? Children?
  27. What sports are popular?
  28. What television programs are shown? What is popular? What social purposes do they serve?
  29. What is the normal work schedule? How does it accommodate environmental or other conditions?
  30. How will your financial position and living conditions compare with those of the majority of the people living in the country?
  31. What games do children play? Where do children congregate?
  32. How are children disciplined at home?
  33. Are children usually present at social occasions? Ceremonial occasions?
  34. How does society observe a child’s “coming of age”?
  35. What kind of local public transportation is available? Does everyone use it?
  36. Who has the right of way in traffic (vehicles, animals, pedestrians)?
  37. Is military training compulsory?
  38. Are the largest circulation newspapers generally friendly in their attitude toward the U.S.?
  39. What is the history of the relationships between this country and the U.S.?
  40. How many people have emigrated from this country to the U.S.? Other countries? How many are doing so at present?
  41. Are there many American expatriates living in this country?
  42. What kinds of options do foreigners have in choosing a place to live?
  43. What kind of health services are available? Where are they located?
  44. What are common home remedies for minor ailments? Where can medicine be purchased?
  45. Is education free? Compulsory?
  46. In schools, are children segregated by race? Caste? Class? Sex?
  47. What kind of schools are considered best: public, private, parochial?
  48. In school, how important is learning by rote?
  49. How are children disciplined in school?
  50. Where are the important universities of the country?