Updated: Mar 14
Whether you plan to travel in the future, or could only dream of it, here are 5 ways to experience other cultures today
Growing up I always felt like an outsider because I loved learning about the world, and frankly, everyone around me was content to never leave home. I didn’t grow up with the privilege to travel like so many other Americans.
My first time on a plane was when I was 23 from the USA to Edinburgh, Scotland. No one in my family had ever left the country, we’d rarely left our home state. I felt like I was exploring a whole new world. It would be another decade until I traveled to a non-English speaking country and that was a real culture shock.
Most people don’t have the money or time to travel. And with the pandemic stretching over a year, it could be a while until travel is a reasonable, safe option.
Cook up something different
One of the best ways to experience another culture is through the cuisine. By learning more about local foods you gain insights into the history, geography, and agriculture of an area. Plus I think it’s really enjoyable to learn comfort foods around the world.
If you aren’t sure where to start consider signing up for an online cooking class
Listen to some cultural music
There’s something about the rhythm and beats of music that can transport you to another place. Try different styles of music from other countries and be sure to check out their folk music and modern music.
Watch a documentary
Netflix has a ton of interesting documentaries and they’re a great way to learn more about a place you might not have a chance to visit. Pedal the World is a light-hearted story of a German man who travels by bike across 22 countries.
The documentary series Magical Andes showcases the breath-taking nature and the wonderful people throughout the Andes. Each episode is only 20 minutes and focuses on a different region
Talk to locals
It’s pretty hard to find locals when you’re at home, but one of the easiest ways is to join a conversation club or social network. It’s fun to have friends scattered around the world. Personally, I love asking people about their culture and what’s daily living like. It’s a great, easy way to learn about a completely different place.
Read an autobiography
A first-hand account from someone can bring you a new understanding of life in another place. Check out Amazon or Goodreads for suggestions. Filter for topics you're interested in places you want to know more about.
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah is a humorous and moving coming-of-age story that takes place in South Africa
Experiencing another culture can broaden your horizons and help you discover new parts of yourself. I've learned so much about my own culture after hearing about life elsewhere. Culture is ingrained in our lives and sometimes it's difficult to see. By experiencing other cultures we can grow as a person.
Admittedly there are numerous ways to experience other cultures, but I wanted to narrow the list to the ones I think are the easiest to get started with. I hope you enjoy exploring the world!
Leave a comment below and tell me the one culture you’d love to learn more about
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