If there’s one thing having access to the internet has taught people in the last several decades it’s that the world is as diverse as it is intriguing. Bringing information and cultures together in real-time, colleagues sitting at different sides of the globe have the ability to chat and exchange ideas. Yet, what do you really know about that person’s culture, including how they dress and which holidays they celebrate? There are several ways to find out. Here are five fun ways to learn about other cultures.
Take a Cruise
The fun thing about cruises isn’t that you’re drifting at sea for days watching dolphins and whales splash and play. It’s that you get to stop at many different ports. Passengers of Mexico cruises will get the opportunity to experience many different cuisines and languages, as people in the southern part of the Americas might speak Spanish or they might speak Portuguese.
Learn a New Language
Another way to understand other cultures is to understand how they speak. Did you know not all languages, including Bengali and Persian, have gendered pronouns? When you learn a new language, you also learn of the rich history of the people who speak it. It’s more fun if you learn in person, so try to find a local class being held at a community college or library.
Participating in celebrations, or even just watching, is one of the most convenient ways to explore a new festival. People who come to the United States from other countries often find other people from their homeland to organize yearly celebrations. Many common festivals include Indian, Irish, African, and even indigenous. If you’re afraid you might feel out of place, then know that these festivals are just as much about introducing people to their culture as they are about keeping ties.
Listen to Cultural Music
When you listen to the music of a different culture, you find out what’s important to them. You’ll also discover how they love and how they mourn. You’ll get to recognize their traditional instruments and perhaps some common rhythms. Think of the lyre and its use in many traditional Middle Eastern compositions. The lyre has been in use for thousands of years, and through those years a rich history has followed it. How can you trace that history?
Museums are full of interesting cultural facts. What you see on display isn’t even half of their intriguing collections. Don’t just visit the museum, but familiarize yourself with its collection. If you’re familiar with the collection, then you’ve familiarized yourself with a culture or cultures, depending on the museum.
If you don’t have obligations in the U.S., why not volunteer abroad? You could volunteer with the Peace Corps or the Red Cross. You could also join mission trips with your local church. Many organizations offer free travel for their volunteers. Not only are you providing much-needed help to the organization’s efforts, but you are at the forefront of mixing with new people and their cultures.
Keep an Open Mind
No matter how you choose to learn of a new culture, it’s important to always keep an open mind. Not everyone lives the way people in the United States live. They also may not share the same values, or have the same understanding of certain material goods. If you want to learn about a different culture, it’s important to also respect it.
When you learn about new people and how they live, you’re expanding your understanding of the world you live in. It’s a big world, and while it’s unlikely you could ever meet and experience every diverse culture inhabiting this planet, you can certainly touch on some of the great pillars of society. The best part is, you get to bring what you’ve learned back home to share with family and friends who might in turn want to do a little exploring themselves.