Hello, I’m pleased to be able to talk to you a bit about Greece today, and in particular to give you a few key cultural differences between France and Greece! And it’s important to get to know them before you do your work placement abroad; after all, how can you understand a culture or integrate if you’re not interested in the cultural differences with your host country? So read on, and go and do your best internship in Greece!

Cultural difference between Greece and France: the relationship with others

Greece and France have distinct cultural differences when it comes to dealing with others:

Greece: In Greece, the relationship with others is often characterised by a strong sense of community and hospitality. Greeks generally have an open and warm attitude towards strangers and are known for their traditional hospitality, known as “philoxenia”. Social relations are often based on strong family ties and friendships, and the importance of interpersonal relationships is valued. Conviviality and informal gatherings are common, with a culture of sociability where Greeks enjoy spending time together over meals, coffees and lively discussions.

France: In France, relationships with others can be influenced by a certain reserve and a sense of privacy. The French place particular importance on politeness and respect for others, but may appear more reserved at first glance. Social relationships in France can be more formal and hierarchical, particularly in professional contexts. However, once relationships have been established, the French can be warm and friendly. Interpersonal relationships are often based on shared interests, such as culture, food and leisure.

It is essential to note that these cultural characteristics are general and may vary from one person to another. Individuals may have different approaches to dealing with others, depending on their personality, upbringing and personal experience. It is always advisable to be open-minded, to respect cultural differences and to adapt to the social norms and expectations of the country you are visiting or living in.

Cultural difference between Greece and France: food expenditure

Greece and France have cultural differences when it comes to spending on food:

Greece: In Greece, food plays a central role in culture and tradition. Greeks attach great importance to cooking and to sharing meals with family and friends. Greek cuisine is renowned for its diversity and Mediterranean flavours, featuring fresh ingredients such as olive oil, vegetables, aromatic herbs, dairy products and seafood. Greeks tend to favour a balanced diet, with an emphasis on local and seasonal produce. Meals in Greece can be hearty and accompanied by lively discussion and conviviality.

France: In France, cooking is considered an art and an integral part of culture. The French are renowned for their love of gastronomy and their culinary expertise. French cuisine is varied and refined, with an emphasis on quality ingredients and meticulous preparation. Meals in France are often structured around a starter, main course and dessert, accompanied by bread and wine. The French pay particular attention to the presentation of dishes and the overall dining experience. Spending on food in France can be relatively high, due to the importance attached to the quality of products.

It is important to note that eating habits can vary from person to person and do not necessarily represent the population as a whole. What’s more, food expenditure levels can also depend on factors such as income, region and individual lifestyle. And if you want to discover the culinary specialities in Greece, we’ve written an article!

Cultural difference between Greece and France: gestures not to use

In Greece and France, there are some cultural differences when it comes to gestures and non-verbal signals. Here are a few gestures to be avoided or used with caution in each country:

Greece :

  • Avoid waving your hand with all your fingers open, palm facing forward. This can be perceived as an offensive or vulgar gesture.
  • Avoid making exaggerated hand gestures or gesticulating too expressively. Greeks tend to use more subtle and controlled gestures in their conversations.
  • It’s best not to make an “OK” sign by forming a circle with your thumb and forefinger. In Greece, this can be interpreted as an obscene gesture.

France :

  • Avoid making an “arm of honour” gesture by raising your arm with a closed fist and the back of your hand pointing towards the person you are speaking to. This is a rude and offensive gesture in France.
  • Avoid pointing at people with your index finger. It’s better to use your open hand to point in a direction or draw attention to something.
  • Avoid eating or drinking while walking in the street, especially in urban areas. In France, it is generally considered impolite or in bad taste.

It is important to note that these recommendations are general and may vary according to specific regions and situations. It is always best to observe and adapt to local standards when in a foreign country.

Cultural difference between Greece and France: moments of relaxation, pleasure

In Greece and France, there are cultural differences when it comes to moments of relaxation and pleasure. Here are a few things to bear in mind:

Greece :

  • In Greece, moments of relaxation and pleasure are often associated with conviviality and socialising. Greeks enjoy informal get-togethers, lively discussions and meals shared with family and friends.
  • Greek cuisine plays a central role in the pleasures of life. Greeks love to savour traditional dishes such as souvlaki, mezze and seafood, accompanied by local wines.
  • The Greeks attach great importance to music and dance. Lively evenings in taverns, local feasts and traditional festivals offer the opportunity to enjoy traditional Greek music and dance to the rhythm of folk dances.

France :

  • In France, moments of relaxation and pleasure can vary according to region and individual preferences. However, gastronomy occupies a special place in French culture.
  • The French enjoy long meals, good wine and lively conversation around the table. French cuisine is renowned the world over for its diversity and quality.
  • Leisure activities in France can include visiting museums, exploring historic sites, strolling through parks and gardens, and taking part in sports or leisure activities, depending on your interests.
  • Cafés and terraces are also an important part of French culture. The French love to meet up in cafés to chat, read, enjoy a coffee or a glass of wine while watching passers-by.

It is important to note that these descriptions are general and that there may be individual and regional variations within each country.

Cultural difference between Greece and France: politics

The cultural differences between Greece and France in terms of politics can be approached as follows:

Greece :

  • Greece has a rich and ancient political history dating back to antiquity. It is considered to be the cradle of democracy.
  • Political participation and civic engagement are particularly important in Greece. Greeks tend to be passionate about political issues and often express their opinions in a lively and direct manner.
  • Social movements and demonstrations are frequent in Greece. The Greeks have a tradition of protest and mobilisation to express their dissatisfaction with government policies and decisions.

France :

  • France is renowned for its revolutionary heritage and its tradition of political thought. It has been the cradle of influential political and philosophical movements.
  • Politics in France is characterised by a multi-party system, with a wide variety of political parties and high voter turnout.
  • Political debates and intellectual discussions are common in France. The French are often engaged in lively conversations about political and social issues.

It should be noted that these descriptions are general and may vary according to individuals and specific political contexts. Political attitudes and levels of commitment may differ from person to person.

There are other cultural differences between France and Greece, which you can discover by visiting this beautiful country! Contact us if you need more information and LET’S GO FOR YOUR INTERNSHIP IN GREECE!

For more general questions, visit the International Horizons Internships Abroad FAQ.