The Variance of the countries and peoples is the culture of customs and traditions, and every country has its particular culture, whether if it is in the East or West. A culture of community is meant by patterns of social behaviour such as customs, believes, literature, arts, history , heritage, language, dress and everything relates to that sort. These cultural elements are combined to form a society characterized by special type to signify it from the rest of other communities. Not only that, but also, the culture of the community is thought of its members and determined its orientation.Unfortunately, only few people understand and appreciate cultural differences of other countries. In fact, they are unaware of the differences until they face the reality of a total different society, then they suffer from the inconvenience and conflicts of such customary habits.
For further understanding, I will discuss in the following paragraphs cultural similarities and differences between Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom.
The main similarity between the two countries, they are both kingdoms, however UK is headed by a queen (Elizabeth the second) while kingdom of Saudi Arabia headed by king Abdullah. UK has an elected prime minister ,who is rolling the country, while Saudi Arabia the king himself is the also prime minister and rolling the country.
Furthermore, there is an education similarity in teaching science, math and physics, while difference exists in the education system, where in UK is divided into two systems: schooling and home education, "Home education has always been common among the country's elite. The Royal Family have all in the past been educated at home, including the current Queen, though more recently royalty have attended various public schools" (anon 2008). Since this system is common in the past years, and even today, many parents would like to teach their children at home, as that kind of education does not exist in Saudi Arabia. Another educational difference between the two countries is clear in education system. Where as in UK males and females attend school together while in Saudi Arabia males and females attend completely separated schools.
In terms of jobs, most of Saudi women prefer to be housewives and to raise children rather than working , because family gathering and interdependence of family in the Eastern societies is very important Of the communities. On the contrary.UK women do not give accord priority to marriage and having children. Women in the UK are equal to men in employment and jobs, where is the state encourages female employment, and there are several researches in this regard, as mentioned in Turgoose and Hall research . "The vast majority of the women intend to increase their participation in work " and some of them would like to increase the hours of work, in addition non working women would like to join the labour market. ( Turgoose and et al., 2006).
Some countries have different religion that distinguishes them from other countries. Religion of Islam is the official Saudi Arabia , and is owed by all the people of Saudi Arabia , while the official religion in the United Kingdom is Christianity, but not all the people believe in god. Recent study Crabtree (2007) showed that about 72% were Christian, and 66% of the population has no actual connection to any religion or church. And in the last quarter of a century, half of all Christians stopped going to church. At the same time, there are some similarities between the two countries, where both allow the existence of other religions through the living outside the country, in Saudi Arabia there are a lot of Indians, and western people, as same in the UK there is many foreign nationalities and allows them to perform their religious rites freely.
For religion, every religion has its special celebrations. Muslims in Saudi Arabia have special occasions such as Ramadan, Hajj and Eid. As for UK people, there many occasions to celebrate, such as Charismas, new-year day, Easter, Labor Day, and so on.
Every occasion has its own special food that distinct it from rest of the events. In Saudi Arabia, Ramadan has a distinctive cuisine, such as "kabsah", "sambosa" and other special food. In UK, Christmas and new year day are famous for "turkey dinners", Easter characterized by its eggs .
Another common difference, Transport in the UK has more advanced than Saudi Arabia, where they are using buses, trains and underground add to cars and vehicles. However, in Saudi Arabia cars is the only means of mobility and there are few buses, also there is only one Train station linking the capital Riyadh with Dammam city. But there are advanced studies on the establishment of many of the trains in the future, which is a joint project for construction of a railway link between Jeddah and Makkah and Madinah called "The Haramain High-speed Railway (HHR)", as it mentioned in the article (2009).
In conclusion, it is clear that multiplicity of similarity between the two countries cultural aspects, there are some differences .It is noted that the culture of people in any country varies from one to another, and it is related to history, climate, religion, and some other un-seen factors. Cultural differences between countries exist, but due to usage of the new technology and with globalization and the spread new media tools, we will learn a lot of other country's culture even if we are unable to visit it. Fast and easy transportation and modern technology facilitate people contacts which spread well under standing for other people cultures. By doing so, minor differences become smaller with time.
Being open minded, and neglecting minor cultural differences, will bring different people together, which may result in spreading peace and more understanding between people of same planet EARTH.
- Anon (2008) A shrot history of Home education [online]. home-education. Available from: http://www.home-education.org.uk/article-history-of-he.htm [Accessed 22 August 2009]
- Anon (2009) " Haramain High-speed Railway Saudi Arabia Architecture" [online] .e-architect . Available from: http://www.e-architect.co.uk/saudi_arabia/haramain_high_speed_railway_stations.htm [Accessed 24 August 2009]
- Crabtree, V. (2007) Religion in the United Kingdom Diversity, Trends and Decline [online].vexen. Available from: http://www.vexen.co.uk/UK/religion.html [Accessed 24 August 2009]
- Turgoose, C. &Hall, L. (2006) Encouraging an increase in the employment of women returners in areas of skill shortage in traditionally male industries [online] University of Sheffield. Available from: http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file28572.pdf [Accessed 23 August 2009]
- Hofstede, G.(2008) Cultural Differences in Teaching and Learning [online] . FUHU conference on Education and Training in the Multicultural Classroom Copenhagen. . Available from : http://fuhu.dk/filer/FBE/Arrangementer/Denmark%20Unlimited%20080508/FBE_geert_hofstede_teaching_learning.pdf [Accessed 21 August 2009]
- Vaara, E. (2000). Constructions of Cultural Differences in Post Merger Change Processes:A Sensemaking Perspective on Finnish-Swedish Case [online] Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration . Available from: http://www.management-aims.com/PapersMgmt/33Vaara.pdf [Accessed 20 August 2009]
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