It is so important for language teachers to understand “the world” of their students and/or the society they are entering/visiting/living in….
One of the essential handbooks for gaining quick and valuable information about a foreign culture is Understanding Your International Students – Jeffra Flaitz, U. of Mich. Press. / Also, Understanding your Immigrant Students Here is an indepth review.
Both books offer great info. for the teacher about both the wider culture and the educational structure and styles. Handy charts plus info. on such things as greeting, gift giving and other customs. Basic language and linguistic information is also provided.
Here are a few of the example sections offered so you can take a look. But I highly recommend this for anyone teaching foreign students or venturing out to teach abroad. Also, see the site – Culture Crossing for an amazing resource online and in a similar vein.