Ann Karamysh: Greeting!

I was very prepared for culture shock; however, it has been a month and I have yet to really feel any major shock! The only real, perhaps awkward, moments surround greetings. In Canada, as I’m sure most of you know, we hug. That is, if we know the person well enough.

If they’re an acquaintance, we may shake hands, if that. Sometimes just a nod is enough. But here, it’s customary to do a “kiss” on each cheek, first on the right, then on the left.

I say “kiss” in quotes because you are kissing the air next to their cheek, while your cheeks are pressed up against each other. But then there are Mexican exchange students, and for them, it’s customary to kiss just once on the cheek. Further, certain French people also only do one kiss! Or, in other regions of France, they do two kisses on each cheek, alternating!

To sum it up, you end up in a weird limbo every time you meet someone, not sure if you should go for the two kisses, one, or just nod and stay away altogether! It’s quite interesting to see how long it takes people to greet each other sometimes. The other day a girl walked into a class during break, and although she was just passing by and wanted to only say a few words, she took the time to kiss, on each cheek, the three of her friends. The things you learn!

Ann is a third year Bachelor of Business Administration student studying abroad at France Business School in Amiens, France. 


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