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On 1 March we celebrate World Compliments Day, a day dedicated to paying and receiving compliments. Not always easy! Especially in an intercultural context, some compliments might not sound equally positive.

We have listed a few compliments from around the world below.

  1. ’You look like blood with milk' (Russia)

    At first glance, this statement seems rather grim, but actually that is not the case. Someone saying ‘you look like blood with milk’ means you look healthy.

  2. ‘You're an old pot’ (Cameroon)

    'As grandma would cook it' always sounds appealing. It brings to mind your beloved grandmother and her cooking skills that have only gotten better over the years. ‘You're an old pot’ may sound like an insult, but it is actually a compliment to someone who can cook well.

  3. ‘Good on ya mate!’ (Australia)

    This statement is used in Australia to express a sincere ‘well done!’.

  4. ‘You are tall’ (Vietnam)

    Beauty ideals vary from culture to culture. In Vietnam, tall people are regarded as beautiful. So you can definitely take it as a compliment when someone calls you tall.

  5. ‘Moosh bokhoradet’ (Iran)

    This expression is a reference to how cute someone is. You can compare it to our expression ‘You're good enough to eat’.

  6. ‘You're an old ape’ (Brazil)

    This expression harbours a lot of respect. When someone says this to you, they are comparing your old age with wisdom. In Brazil, an old monkey is smart enough not to get stuck in a trap with his hand. So, if you are an old monkey in Brazil, you are experienced and wise.

  7. ‘You look like an egg with eyes’ (Japan)

    This statement may spontaneously remind you of Humpty Dumpty, the clumsy egg that falls off a wall. But in Japan, 'egg with eyes' refers to a person's perfectly shaped oval face. Japanese culture praises perfectly shaped faces, so the comparison with an egg is a compliment.

  8. ‘Gaja Gamini’ (India)

    Translated this means ‘She walks like an elephant’. Being compared to an elephant doesn't exactly sound like a compliment. Just think of the expression ‘Like an elephant in a china shop’. But that isn’t the case in India. There one sees the stride of an elephant as slow, graceful and elegant. It's by no means a comment about someone’s physical appearance.

    It is always nice to hear that others appreciate what you do and who you are. Praise boosts one’s self-esteem. Moreover, compliments increase dopamine levels in your brain. So they can only make you happy!

Would you like to share your travel experiences?

Are you an expat or do you know someone with an inspiring experience abroad? Please don't hesitate to contact us at overseas-expat@onssrszlss.fgov.be. And who knows, you might inspire future expats with your story.

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