To Coin a Phrase, ‘When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do’

Jiayi Wang and Yiran Sun
Pennsylvania State University
Intercultural Communication Course with Prof. Christian Tarchi


This proverb by Saint Ambrose is about living according to the local norms. It may apply to many different aspects, such as respecting beliefs, following daily practices, and dressing and eating like the locals. When we go on a trip to a different country, we usually encourage ourselves to learn about the local culture first, the weather, famous sights, the most popular kind of food, and lifestyle. We follow local rules in order to make the most of our experience, and we find out the social norms so that we won’t show awkward or disrespectful behaviors. For example, there are plenty of public fountains in Rome and the Romans always drink water directly from them. If you go on a trip to Rome, it is a good start to drink some public water. We would love to have fountains with drinkable water everywhere in our hometown; not only because of their beauty, but also for the convenience they bring to people.