Cultural Sensitivity Tips for US Citizens Traveling to Suriname

What are the main cultural norms and customs I should be aware of when visiting Suriname?

1. Greeting: When greeting someone in Suriname, it is customary to shake hands with both men and women. It is also common to greet people with a kiss on each cheek, especially among family and close friends.

2. Clothing: The standard dress for most people in Suriname is quite conservative. Men tend to wear collared shirts, trousers and dress shoes, while women usually wear dresses or skirts that come down to the knee.

3. Respect: Respect for elders is an important part of Surinamese culture. Showing respect to elders by standing up when they enter a room, speaking to them in a respectful manner and avoiding direct eye contact are all important forms of respect in Suriname.

4. Eating Habits: In Suriname, it is polite to wait for the host or oldest person to take their seat and begin eating before others start. It is also considered impolite to pick up food with your hands, so be sure to use utensils when eating.

5. Religion: The majority of the population in Suriname is Christian; however, there are also large numbers of Hindus, Muslims and Jews in the country. Respect for all religions should be shown in public and private settings alike.

How should I dress to respect local customs and traditions in Suriname?

Suriname is a culturally diverse country, and as such there is no single dress code that applies to all areas. Generally speaking, it is best to dress conservatively, avoiding clothing that is too revealing or provocative. When visiting ethnic villages or religious sites, more conservative dress is preferred, such as long pants and shirts with sleeves. Bright colors are generally welcome and appreciated by locals. As Suriname is a tropical country, light clothing made of natural fibers is recommended.

Are there specific gestures or body language that are considered rude or offensive in Suriname?

Yes, there are certain gestures and body language considered rude or offensive in Suriname. Showing the sole of the foot is considered very rude. Pointing with a finger, making an ‘OK’ sign, or pointing with the entire hand can also be seen as offensive. Making direct eye contact for an extended period of time is also considered impolite in Suriname. Avoid using your index finger to beckon someone to come closer, as this is also seen as incredibly disrespectful and offensive in Suriname.

What is the customary way to greet and show respect to locals in Suriname?

In Suriname, it is customary to greet and show respect to locals by shaking hands and using polite greetings, such as “goede dag” (good day) or “goedemiddag” (good afternoon). Showing respect by using terms of politeness and avoiding physical contact, such as hugs or kisses, is also important.

Are there any religious practices or festivals during my visit, and how can I respectfully participate or observe?

Religious practices and festivals vary significantly from region to region. Contact local religious organizations and ask about appropriate practices, festivals, and events that may be occurring during your visit. Most religious organizations will be more than happy to help you learn about the local culture and provide you with information on respectfully participating or observing these events.

What are the local attitudes towards personal space and physical contact in Suriname?

In Suriname, people tend to have a relaxed attitude toward personal space and physical contact. It is not uncommon for people to stand close to each other in conversation, and hugging or shaking hands is customary when greeting someone. However, there is still a general respect for each other’s space and physical contact should be limited to those who are familiar with each other.

How can I show respect when entering homes or places of worship in Suriname?

When visiting someone’s home or a place of worship in Suriname, there are several ways to show respect:

• Remove your shoes before entering the house. This is considered a sign of respect.
• Dress appropriately for the occasion.
• Greet the host or members of the congregation with a warm handshake and offer to help in any way you can.
• Speak politely and be sure to show gratitude for their hospitality.
• Listen and follow instructions carefully while in the house or place of worship.
• Offer a gift as a sign of respect, such as flowers or food.
• Refrain from smoking or consuming alcohol while in the house.

Are there any dietary restrictions or preferences I should be aware of when dining with locals in Suriname?

Yes, some locals in Suriname may have dietary restrictions or preferences due to religious beliefs or cultural preferences. It is important to ask about these in advance if possible. Common dietary restrictions in Suriname include avoiding pork, shellfish, and alcohol. Vegetarian and vegan diets are also widely accepted. As Suriname is an incredibly diverse country, it’s best to ask each individual you will be dining with about their dietary restrictions and preferences.

What is the appropriate way to address people, especially elders or those in positions of authority, in Suriname?

In Suriname, it is appropriate to address elders and those in authority with respect and politeness, using the formal titles which they have earned. The most common way to do this is by using the honorific “Meneer” (Mr.) or “Mevrouw” (Mrs.) followed by the person’s last name. For example, someone might address the President of Suriname as “President Meneer Bouterse.” It is also common to include a polite phrase such as “goedendag” (good day) or “goedemorgen” (good morning) when addressing people.

How can I be respectful when taking photographs, especially of people or religious sites, in Suriname?

When taking photographs in Suriname, it is important to remember to be respectful of the people and religious sites that you are photographing. Ask for permission before taking any photos of people, and respect their wishes if they do not want to be photographed. When photographing religious sites, ensure that you are not disrupting any ceremonies or services that may be taking place. Be aware of the culture and customs of the people in Suriname, and respect them during your visit. Additionally, avoid taking photos with flash photography, as this can be disrespectful or distracting to those nearby.

Are there specific taboos or topics that I should avoid discussing in Suriname?

Yes, there are a few taboos and topics that should be avoided in Suriname. These include discussions about race and religion, since these topics are sensitive and can easily lead to conflict. It is also important to be respectful of local cultures and customs and not to comment on them in a negative way. Additionally, it is considered rude to discuss negative opinions of the country or its people.

What is the local perspective on tipping, and are there situations where tipping is considered inappropriate in Suriname?

Tipping is not expected in Suriname but is generally appreciated. It is not necessary in most restaurants, but it is generally customary to round up the bill. When receiving a good service, 10-15% is appreciated. Tipping is considered inappropriate in some situations, such as when using public transport or paying for goods in a store.

How should I handle invitations to social events or meals, and what is the customary RSVP etiquette in Suriname?

Suriname has a few unique customs when it comes to invitations to social events and meals. When invited to a social event, it is common to bring a gift such as flowers or a small token of appreciation. It is also polite to bring a sweet treat such as cake or chocolates. In terms of RSVP etiquette, it is important to RSVP promptly and let the host know whether you plan on attending or not. It is also polite to follow up with a thank you note after the event.

Are there gender-related customs or considerations that I should be aware of in Suriname?

Suriname is a traditionally patriarchal society, although women are slowly gaining more rights and opportunities. Women are expected to dress modestly and men should be respectful of the roles that women play in society. It is also important to respect the traditional roles of the Maroon and Indigenous people. In terms of customs, it is important to note that many Surinamese people greet each other with a hug, no matter what their gender.

What are the expectations regarding punctuality and time management in Suriname?

Punctuality and time management are both highly valued in Suriname. Employees are expected to arrive to work on time and be prepared to start work immediately, as well as to complete tasks within the agreed-upon timeframe. In addition, Surinamese employers also expect employees to be productive and efficient in their work. Employees who demonstrate good punctuality and time management are often rewarded with promotions and other benefits.

How can I navigate cultural differences in business settings, if applicable, in Suriname?

1. Be aware of and respect the cultural norms. Take the time to research and understand the culture, its values, and beliefs in order to better understand how to navigate any cultural differences.

2. Be open-minded and patient. It is important to be open-minded and patient when it comes to cultural differences in business settings. Make sure to listen carefully and be willing to accept different ideas and viewpoints.

3. Communicate effectively. Communication is key when it comes to navigating cultural differences in business settings. Always pay attention to nonverbal cues, tone of voice, body language, words used, and other aspects of communication.

4. Use appropriate methods of negotiation. Negotiations can be difficult when there are cultural differences involved. Make sure to use respectful words and avoid any confrontational behavior.

5. Build strong relationships. Building strong relationships with people from different cultures can help you navigate cultural differences in business settings more effectively. Taking the time to learn about each other’s culture can help build trust and understanding, which will create a more productive working environment.

What are the local attitudes towards bargaining in markets, and how can I do so respectfully in Suriname?

Local attitudes towards bargaining in markets in Suriname tend to be quite positive. It is a long-standing tradition and part of the culture. Vendors expect customers to haggle and appreciate customers who respect the process. In order to bargain respectfully, it is important to be polite and offer compliments when possible. Additionally, be willing to walk away if the price is higher than you are willing to pay, as this can often lead to a better deal. It’s also important to know the going rate of the item you are bargaining for so you can make an appropriate offer.

Are there any specific rules or customs for removing shoes when entering homes or certain establishments in Suriname?

In Suriname, it is customary to remove shoes before entering a home or sacred building. It is seen as a sign of respect, and it helps keep the environment clean. Additionally, some people may also ask that visitors remove their shoes before entering their home. When visiting certain religious establishments, such as Hindu and Muslim temples, it is important to be aware of the local customs and dress codes associated with those places of worship.

How can I contribute positively to local communities or causes during my visit to Suriname?

1.Volunteer with local charities or organizations: Suriname is home to many charities, organizations, and NGOs working to improve the lives of local people. Consider volunteering with them to help out with their activities and projects for a day or more.

2.Support local businesses: Whenever possible, consider purchasing goods and services from local businesses. This will not only help the local economy but also support small businesses in the area.

3.Donate to a local cause: Consider donating to a local cause, such as an animal shelter, school, or health clinic. Any amount, big or small, will make a difference.

4.Participate in beach or river cleanups: Suriname is home to many beautiful beaches and rivers. Join a beach or river cleanup and help ensure that these spaces stay clean and beautiful for years to come.

5.Share your skills with locals: If you have specific skills or knowledge that you think could benefit local communities, consider offering free classes or workshops. This could be anything from computer skills to language instruction.

What resources or guides are available to help me better understand and appreciate the culture of Suriname?

1. The Surinamese Culture and Heritage Guide: This guide provides information on the history, customs, and traditions of Suriname. It also has advice on how to interact with Surinamese people and their culture.

2. The Surinamese Language Guide: This guide provides an overview of the language spoken in Suriname, as well as tips for learning it.

3. The Surinamese Food Guide: This guide provides an introduction to the delicious dishes of Suriname and how to prepare them.

4. The Surinamese Music Guide: This guide provides an overview of the traditional music styles of Suriname, as well as popular contemporary artists.

5. The Surinamese Art Guide: This guide provides an overview of the unique art forms and styles found in Suriname, from traditional to modern.