Time

It is interesting to think about time throughout different cultures because of the value that different cultures give to it. The first thing that comes to mind relating to time in different cultures is how for example Panamanians, and most of the Latin cultures are very unpunctual, unlike for example the British and other European cultures. Not to say that Europeans value people’s time more than Latinos, however, there is a clear difference in how people approach meeting times. For example I know that if I am going to meet with a German I will tell him or her to be there at 8:00pm, and I know that they will be on time, and maybe even earlier. On the other hand if I want to meet at 8:00pm with a Latin, I would probably tell him or her to get there at 7:00/7:30pm so he or she is there at 8:00pm.

It is also fascinating how people care differently about time depending on who they are going to meet. What I mean by this is that if I am going to an interview and I want to make a good impression, I make an effort to be there on time, however if I am meeting a friend, it is usually not that big of a deal that I get to our meeting late because I know that it won’t be that much of a problem.

I think it is important to relate this to how it affects people in intercultural settings. What I mentioned before is just my way of thinking, but from experience I know that in Panama, for example, it is acceptable to arrive late anywhere including an interview or business meeting, however this might not come off well to a European or a North American. They might think this is insulting because we are wasting their time. I think this aspect of time is becoming increasingly important in Panama and the world. This is because of the globalized world we are living in today, we have to learn to respect and understand other cultures in which we are immersed.

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