When hosting or being hosted, it will help both sides to be aware of potential cultural differences.
At the above link to Hofstede Insights, you can read all about differences between Spanish and Ukrainian cultures.
You can also change 'Spanish' if you are not from Spain. All differences are relative and based on cultural studies carried out by Hofstede.
Another factor that host families and guests may want to be aware of is that many people may be dealing with mental trauma following aggressions to which they have been a witness or a victim. More can be found on this in the 'Healthcare' section.
Gracious and Thoughtful Tips from a Host in the Czech Republic
Some things that people who offer their homes should take into account, to facilitate greater understanding and minimize friction in the home.
To the amazing hosts that are sharing your time, home and resources to help your fellow human beings, please note that:
- Your guest's response may not always match your expectations.
- The human beings that you are hosting have had a difficult journey under great psychological pressure.
- After the first few hours safe and with a roof over their heads, their fears and doubts about whether they made the right decision to flee, may be completely released.
- Regrets and guilt for abandoning the rest of the family, houses, possessions, animals may begin to surface.
- The anger that has not had time to explode may need an outlet.
- There may be a complete mental breakdown in both adults and children.
- On the whole, the reactions of the people who flee may not be as you had imagined. They may not express their thanks or gratitude, which does not mean that they do not feel thankful or gracious, only that they may not be able to express it in this extreme situation.
- Children, both young and old, may appear to be unaffected. They may still play their games on their mobiles or tablets and require an internet connection. It is normal. The psychological impact can occur at any time, even after a long period of time.
- Some older children, especially teenaged boys, due to circumstances, could very quickly assume the role of protector of their mother and younger siblings, taking on the role of partner or father, and they need to be treated sensitively. A return to the role corresponding to their age can take a long time to be realized.
- Keep in mind that the people you host may come from a good socio-economic background and may be accustomed to European standards. They may not show gratitude for an old broken mobile phone, broken shoes and used pots. Again, don't take this personally. It's not ingratitude, it's just an expression of the desperate situation they, at no fault of their own, find themselves in.
What can you do then?
- Ask about their needs and desires.
- Don't make decisions for them, present them with options. People in this situation need to have at least some decisive power and need to feel that they control their destiny, even if it's a choice between a yellow and a red towel.
- Sometimes the greatest luxury is to provide a little privacy and peace and let the family go through all the stages of emotions in their own way.