THE SLOVAK’S CULTURAL BACKGROUND
Slovaks value their privacy. It takes a while for them to open up to and trust new people. As a result they can seem overly formal and reserved. They are not exuberant and are not given to emotional displays. Once you develop a personal relationship Slovaks will start to open up. Although always polite, they seldom move to a first-name basis with people outside their extended family or very close friends.
A Spa Culture
Slovakia has a large number of natural curative springs as well as extensive deposits of high-quality healing peat and mud. Throughout the ages people have taken advantage of these resources to cure a variety of diseases and ailments. The country has more than 1,160 registered minerals and thermal springs. Even Marcus Aurelius´ Roman legions tried out the thermal water, and several of the better-known spas are visited every year by people from many countries.
Gift Giving Etiquette
– If you are invited to a Slovak’s home, take wine, flowers or good quality chocolates for the hostess.
– Do not give chrysanthemums or calla lilies and do not wrap flowers in purple ribbon, as these are traditions reserved for funerals.
– Gifts are usually opened when received.
Organisational cultures differ widely in Slovakia, but generally meetings are conducted by the most senior person present who sets the agenda, the content, and the pace. The purpose is usually to communicate information and decisions that have already been made rather than to brainstorm or discuss. Employees may be called on to corroborate or clarify facts and statistics, but will not usually be asked to collaborate.
Time is not considered more important than completing a meeting satisfactorily, so meetings will go on until they come to a natural ending.
Cuisine: Slovak cuisine varies slightly from region to region across Slovakia. It was influenced by the traditional cuisine of its neighbours and it influenced them as well. The origins of traditional Slovak cuisine can be traced to times when the majority of the population lived self-sufficiently in villages, with very limited food imports and exports and with no modern means of food preservation or processing.
This gave rise to a cuisine heavily dependent on a number of staple foods that could stand the hot summers and cold winters. These included wheat, potatoes, milk and milk products, pork meat, sauerkraut and onion. To a lesser degree beef, poultry, lamb and goat, eggs, a few other local vegetables, fruit and wild mushrooms were traditionally eaten.