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Happy Hour Across the World

From France to Australia, Chile to Canada, happy hour is celebrated in business communities across the world. And who doesn’t love a little bubbly? There are ample opportunities to get together with co-workers and network outside of the workplace. Depending on where an assignee is located, there are a few rules of etiquette when it comes to happy hour overseas. Knowing and understanding the traditions will help your assignee integrate into their new culture and workplace and have a little fun while they’re at it.

Below are a few common happy hour customs to help employees get to know their new co-workers, enjoy some local flavor, and discover how to kick back and relax during their stay abroad.


Turkey: Encourage your assignees in Ankara to go out with coworkers and enjoy a glass of raki, a spirit made from twice-distilled grapes and aniseed, and the national drink of Turkey. Raki is a drink to be sipped on, not guzzled down--so make sure they’re aware before tossing one back! Inform your employees that in when toasting in Turkey they should clink the bottom of their glass rather than the top. Touching the top of another’s glass implies you think you are better than them, so help your co-workers avoid looking cocky by sharing this tip.

Ordering a beer: Bir bira, lütfen (beer beer-ah luht-fen)

How to say 'cheers': Şerefe (sher-i-feh)

Ireland: The luck of the Irish will surely stay with your assignees if you correctly educate them on drinking traditions in Ireland. The biggest thing your assignees need to remember when attending happy hour is the rounds culture, which is extremely important in Irish etiquette. Their native co-workers will likely offer them a drink because in Ireland, usually only one person goes to the bar for everyone. With this comes an unspoken condition everyone within the group will return the favor, so make sure your employees understand this so they can avoid coming off rude.

How to order a beer: Pionta Guinness, le do thoil (pee-onta Guinness, lay doe hell), but obviously English works just as well.

How to say 'cheers': Sláinte (slawnt-yeh or slant-yeh)

Hungary: If you have assignees in Hungary, you’ll want to let them know not to clink any of their co-workers’ glasses during a toast. Unlike tradition in the States, this will be an extreme offense to the one whose glass they clinked. Following the Hungarian revolution and liberation war of 1848, the Thirteen Martyrs of Arad were executed and the officers of the Austrian army toasted their success in putting down the revolution by clinking their beer glasses. Needless to say, Hungarians take this very seriously and your assignee should be sure to keep their glasses to themselves.

How to order a beer: Egy pohár sört kérek (edj pohar shurt kayrek)

How to say 'cheers': Egészségedre (egg-esh ay-ged-reh)

Korea: An experience in and of itself is the Korean happy hour, as it is quite the event. Chances are your assignees will be sipping on drinks at a karaoke bar, so make sure they’re aware of this and ready to belt out a tune. Something to note, it is custom to pour and receive drinks with both hands, and turn to the side when pouring. Another thing you’ll want to inform your assignees of is the typical Korean happy hour is usually more rowdy than those in America. Warming up the vocal chords and practicing their karaoke specialties would be a wise move for those moving to Korea.

How to order a beer: 맥주 한잔 주세요 (mayk-joo hahn-jahn joo-se-yoh)

How to say 'cheers': 건배 (gun bae)


Brazil: A happy hour in Brazil is sure to be one of the most welcoming and friendly environments, as the locals love to host their foreign friends. The country’s most consumed alcoholic beverage is beer, which is likely what will be served. There are two important etiquette tips your assignees will need to know for a successful night out. In Brazil, it is considered rude to drink directly from a bottle or can, so drinks should always be poured into a glass. Also, after every sip of a drink, it’s expected one wipes their mouth on a napkin. Make sure your assignee knows about these two customs in order to show respect while with their co-workers.

How to order a beer: cerveja (sehr-vay-juh)

How to say ‘cheers’: Saude! (sah-oo-jee)

As you can see, traditions vary from country to country, with many customs to take into account when attending a happy hour. Help your assignees best adjust to a new culture and workplace by getting them up to speed on happy hour etiquette in their new home.

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Written by Mango (PS)

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