From the classic office Christmas party, to mulled wine and eggnog, through to the questionable merits of mistletoe, if we’re going to misbehave then it’ll most likely be during the festive season.
This is all well and good when others are behaving the same way. In the UK and the USA, for example, a little merriment at Christmas is almost expected. Those who remain on their very best behaviour may be branded as staid or just plain boring.
But what happens to expats when they live in a country that perhaps does not understand or appreciate the “benefits” of a typical Western Christmas? Many nations, often for religious reasons, don’t celebrate Christmas at all. Others may have some form of celebration in late December or at the turn of the New Year, but it might look rather different to what you and I are used to.
In short – how does one enjoy Christmas as fully as possible as an expat, without risking trouble in a foreign country? Whether this involves the loss of respect from your new-found friends, or worse an altercation with local law enforcement officers, it’s something that most of us would rather avoid.
Even more difficult, many newer expats find that they have difficulties simply due to not understanding, or appreciating, cultural differences. It’s one thing to cause offence or annoyance deliberately, but quite another so do so unknowingly. Surely waking up the next morning to realize that you have inadvertently upset your hard-won new friends would be a truly mortifying experience.
To help educate expats in the UAE, a typically teetotal and law-abiding Muslim nation, The British Embassy launched a most unique source of information last month. Rather than publishing a boring leaflet to be ignored by expats, the embassy instead decided to update a classic Christmas song.
Keeping the same tune, but updating the words to act as a source of public information, the newly-released “Rupert the Expat Reindeer” aims to help British expats living and working in the UAE over Christmas to enjoy a trouble-free festive season. The “carol” includes information on the legalities and cultural attitudes towards alcohol consumption, what clothing should be deemed appropriate, as well as suggestions on language.
By turning the otherwise “boring” information into a catchy viral video and Christmas song the British Embassy has done an excellent job of providing important information in a fun and easily-digested format. It’s also the sort of information that expats will want to share with their friends and family – thus helping to ensure that as many expats as possible benefit from the information it contains.
Of course, after such a build-up it would be remiss of us not to include the video itself so that you too can fully enjoy the efforts put into creating the video.
In this vein we at Expatriate Healthcare are pleased to be able to introduce you to Rupert the Expat Reindeer…