What is a foreigner? Is there a single definition? Perhaps not.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to consider this concept before you travel. There are many reasons for this, but I would like to break some of them down to help you understand some of the risks that revolve around this issue.
The first thing that I would like to point out is that the definition of foreigner is defined culturally. The beautiful thing to this is there are more than 5,000 different cultures across the globe according to reference.com. Therefore, the way you define foreigner is likely different from many other places you may travel to in your lifetime. Why is this important? Because the way you are welcomed or treated upon your arrival in one country or another will largely be defined by their definitions, not your own.
From a social perspective, this is generally not good news for the traveler. This is because the person who visits a place for whatever reason, will not work or reside in that location, and therefore, will be targeted over a local because there will be little social impact by their actions. For example, a thief is more likely to pickpocket a non-native versus a native, because of the social cost versus benefit. Taking money from a non-native has less of a social cost, making it more likely to occur when compared to that of a native.
Taking this same concept and applying it to the lowest hanging fruit analogy, as a visitor to any given area, you automatically fall into the low hanging fruit category. The benefit is that you can determine how low of a fruit you are. Do you walk around with your head in the phone? Do you behave according to social rules (i.e. not talking loud) for the area you are in? This then leads to perhaps a more important question: did you do your homework before leaving? What are the social rules for where you are going?
Some things to consider: Clothing type, brand, colors; wedding rings; physical and oral greetings; oral and non-verbal communication; gift giving and hospitality; type of cell phones used (are you using an iPhone when everyone around you is using the cheapest phone available?).
Knowing each of these things before you go to your destination could help to make your experience a better one, whether you realize it or not.
Sanctuary International has developed what we call the “10 page paper” to help organizations prepare their employees for international work. It is a greater expansion of items mentioned above, and will help you to show up to your location from day one as less of a foreigner. Reducing your appearance of being a low hanging fruit.
Reach out to us for more information on our training and services offered (firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at sanctuaryint.com