Headbloom Blog

Global Quiz 1
To test your knowledge of world affairs, answer these 12 multiple-choice questions. Answers are given below.

1. What is the newest country to officially join the nations of the world?
a. South Sudan
b. East Timor
c. West Bank (Palestine)
d. Northern Ireland

2. What should you not attempt to do when a Japanese businessperson comes to visit your company?
a. shake hands in greeting
b. write notes on the back of his/her business card
c. call him/her by the last name
d. say “good morning/evening” in Japanese

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3. According to TMA’s Country Navigator tool, which of these countries has cultural values least similar to the United States?
a. Brazil
b. Germany
c. Mexico
d. Israel

4. According to TMA’s Country Navigator tool, which of these countries has cultural values most similar to the United States?
a. South Korea
b. Mexico
c. Sweden
d. the Netherlands

5. According to TMA’s Country Navigator tool, Canada shares cultural values with the United States in all areas except which one?
a. risk-taking vs. risk-avoiding
b. individual vs. group relationship
c. linear vs. circular reasoning
d. task-oriented vs. relationship-oriented

6. If a Swede says, “Tack så mycket” (Thanks so much) to you, how should you respond?
a. Välkommen.
b. Var så god.
c. Ha det bra.
d. Grattis.

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7. In China, it is a bad idea to ask someone _____.
a. if they are married
b. if they have children
c. how much their house cost
d. if they are satisfied with the current government leadership.

8. In France, you should greet someone with an “air kiss” how many times?
a. 1
b. 2
c. 3
d. 1-4, depending on region

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9. Which are not official languages among the countries of South America?
a. English and Dutch
b. Spanish and Portuguese
c. Italian and German
d. French and English

10. In India, what is a bindi used for?
a. decorating the forehead
b. wrapping around a woman’s body
c. carrying water
d. greeting guests in your home

11. As a measure of temperature, Fahrenheit is not used in which of these countries?
a. Djibouti
b. the Cayman Islands
c. Belize
d. the United States

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12. In Australia, a cozzie is a nickname for what?
a. cousin
b. bathing suit
c. caterpillar
d. cover to keep the tea pot warm

ANSWERS to Global Quiz
1-a, 2-b, 3-c, 4-d, 5-d, 6-b, 7-d, 8-d, 9-c, 10-a, 11-a, 12-b

ANSWER Explanations
1. South Sudan became the world’s newest country in July 2011. See this blog for more details.

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2. When a Japanese businessperson gives you his or her card, treat it with great respect. A business card is a representation of the actual person, so do not stuff it into your wallet or pocket, and don’t crumple it up or write on it. On the other hand, Japanese businesspeople do not expect you to bow in greeting; most foreigners do it clumsily anyway. Only family or close friends use a person’s first name, so being called by the last name is much more comfortable for most Japanese. Trying to use a few expressions in another person’s language is a sign of interest and respect; go ahead and try to learn a few simple phrases.

3. According to TMA’s Country Navigator tool, Mexico is least culturally similar to the United States. Across nine values and thought patterns which represent human cultures, Mexico and the U.S. are “very different” on all nine scales, nine “red lights” according to TMA. Fellow Latinos in Brazil share only 2.5 green lights with the U.S., compared to 6 for Germany and 6.5 for Israel. The latter two countries are in the top 25% of countries with similar cultural patterns to the United States.

4. According to TMA’s Country Navigator, the Netherlands has cultural values most similar to the United States, scoring 8.5 out of 9 green lights. Sweden is close behind with 7.5. South Korea shares 3.5 green lights with the U.S., highest among all Asian locations except Hong Kong.

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5. While northern neighbor Canada shares very similar cultural values (8/9 green lights) with the United States, Canadians are very different in the area of task-orientation vs. relationship-orientation. While Americans focus highly on “getting the job done,” Canadians prefer to establish a relationship of trust before beginning work together. Business teams from the U.S. would do well to keep this in mind when traveling to work in Canada, taking time to get to know their counterparts before “getting down to business.” Recommendation: take some extra time getting acquainted first and don’t be in such a rush. Not everyone shares the American attitude of “Time is money.”

6. In Swedish, “Var så god” is the correct response to “Tack så mycket.” The expression “Välkommen!” means “Welcome to our place!” A good reminder that you can’t always try to use expressions which look like direct translations. “Ha det bra!” means “Enjoy yourself” or “Have a good one.” Finally, “Grattis!” means “Congratulations!”

7. In China, it is a bad idea to ask someone if they are satisfied with the current government leadership. On the other hand, do not be shocked if Chinese ask you about your marital status, parental status, or financial status when you visit them. Unlike in the U.S., these last three topics are not considered taboo and constitute a normal form of small talk in Chinese culture.

8. In France, you greet someone with an “air kiss” 1-4 times, depending on the region you are in. This map will help you. However, it is best to consult a local person for this information before you start leaning in for introductions.

9. German and Italian are not official languages among the countries of South America(although they are spoken in pockets of a half-dozen countries there). The following European languages have national designation: Portuguese (Brazil), English (Guyana), French (French Guiana), and Dutch (Suriname). Spanish is officially spoken in all other countries of South America.

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10. In India and other South Asian countries, a bindi is used for decorating the lower forehead), between the eyebrows (sometimes of men, more frequently of women and girls). They are traditionally made from red powder and paste but can also be applied as stickers or small jewels.

11. The country of Djibouti uses Centigrade (or Celsius) to measure temperature, along with the rest of Africa. The only countries in the world to still use the Fahrenheit scale are the Cayman Islands, Belize, and the United States.

12. Australians put on a cozzie to go swimming. Known as bathing suit in other English-speaking countries, “cozzie” is an abbreviation for swim costume.

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Photo credits: iStock – cheek kiss, bathing suit; fotolia – Japan temple, Swedish flag, thermometer, traffic lights, S. Sudan flag, bindi.



Alan Headbloom