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Alice Kaushal’s company is, by definition, international. She runs Refine Consulting, which advises companies working in different countries on the business etiquette of each local culture. Her work takes her to Indonesia, Hong Kong, India, Europe, and beyond. And she runs it all from her house in Launceston. Born in Uganda to Indian parents and having lived, at different times, on six continents, Ms Kaushal said did not harbour any doubts that Launceston was her home. “My upbringing is so mixed, but it was the strangest thing – after coming to Tasmania, within two weeks, I just felt that this was home,” she said. “And I’ve never felt that about any other country that I’ve lived in.” “The Germans have a word for your home, but they also have another word, which is your soul-home. The word is, ‘Heimat’. To me, my heimat – my soul-home – is here. And I guess I was very lucky to find it because otherwise I would have always been wandering.” Ms Kaushal studied at the Emily Post Institute, a training school run by descendants of the author behind the hugely popular, culture-transforming book released in 1922: Etiquette in Society, in Business, in Politics, and at Home by Emily Post. IN OTHER NEWS: She now advises businesses on the basic manners laid down by Ms Post, updated for a globalised world almost a century later. “Take the Italian jewellery company Bulgari,” Ms Kaushal said. “Each company has a certain, what they call, a selling ceremony. Now, if you have an Indonesian woman – Muslim – and a male sale adviser attempts to put a piece of jewellery on her, well, that would be considered really offensive. “It’s little nuances of tweaking the training.” Ms Kaushal has recently returned from the Philippines, where she was advising the Christian Dior boutique on customer service for the Chinese market. Before that she was in Hong Kong, training local staff working in international couture how to best work with their colleagues in Paris and Milan. She said differences in culture are often attitudes one wouldn’t question as being the natural order of things, if one had never left one’s home country, “For example, Australians in general pride themselves on independence and are very uncomfortable with very high levels of service,” she said. “Because we come from a very egalitarian society. Whereas in countries where there is not such a focus on egalitarianism, people are used to giving and receiving very high levels of service. “I find the elderly [in Australia] are regarded – and this is broadly speaking, of course, I’m making very sweeping generalisations – but I do think the elderly here are regarded, perhaps, as a burden. “We don’t regard them as a burden [in Asia]. We regard them as a great source of knowledge. And a source of tradition, continuance of tradition.” Learn more about international business etiquette at

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