Cultural Advice

A Polycentric Culture

Slovenia has a polycentric culture. For example, Slovenians are naturally indirect communicators but can moderate their behaviour when dealing with people who come from cultures where more direct communication is the norm.

Culture, Customs and Etiquette Meeting and Greeting

  1. Greetings are initially formal and reserved.
  2. When meeting someone for the first time the most common greeting is a handshake. Handshakes should be firm and confident.
  3. First names are only used among close friends and family. Others are addressed using the honorific titles “Gospa” (Madam), “Gospodična” (Miss), or “Gospod” (Sir).
  4. Do not use a person’s first name until invited to do so as this is considered rude and presumptuous.
  5. When meeting with someone it is really important to arrive on time.
  6. Be sure to take off your shoes if you are invited to somebody`s home.
  7. In Slovenia, smoking indoors is prohibited. If you are a smoker, you have to go outside.
  8. At the post office, the bank and many other places you will find people waiting in in line/ queue.

Tipping

In Slovenia a tip is not an obligation, but is appropriate for good service. In restaurants and bars people usually leave some change.

Language in Slovenia

Slovene or Slovenian belongs to the family of South Slavic languages. It is spoken by approximately 2 million speakers. Slovene is one of the rare languages to have preserved the dual grammatical number from Proto-Indo-European. Also, Slovene and Slovak are the two modern Slavic languages whose names for themselves literally mean “Slavic”.
Although the country is relatively small, there are more than 32 different dialects spoken, which can be grouped into 7 larger dialect segments. Slovenes who come from opposite parts of country may have enormous difficulties to understand each other. The diversity in language is due to the influences of neighbouring countries as well as the mountainous nature of the country, which has led to isolated language development.
Useful words and phrases
The majority of Slovenians are fluent in at least one foreign language, usually English or German but additionally also Italian or Croatian, depending on the region. Knowing few Slovenian words can be still very useful:

Food

Slovenia has a rich culinary tradition which is influenced by its climate and its location at the crossroads of central Europe. Slovene culinary heritage has influences of Mediterranean, Alpine, and Eastern European cultures. Meals are an important part of Slovene life, and enjoying a snack or a glass of wine at a café with friends is a typical social activity. Every region in Slovenia has its own specialties, however, most of Slovenia’s oldest traditional dishes consist flour, buckwheat, or barley, as well as potatoes and cabbage. Slovenia also produces a variety of wines. Almost 70% of Slovenian wines fulfil the criteria for quality and premium wines, which is definitely a result of a highly-developed wine culture and demanding wine lovers.