Tips on how to appreciate foreign cultures

Thanks to modern technology, relatively cheap travelling arrangements, and the internet, we are now able to get acquainted with many different cultures and nations. This presents itself as a beautiful opportunity to find out more about the world and the people in it. Sometimes, one might feel a little bit overwhelmed, having been exposed to many different customs and ceremonies, so it is crucial you get prepared to process it and learn as much as possible.

Here are some tips on how to do it and what to expect.

Get to know your own culture first

In order to fully appreciate a different culture and the set of beliefs it entails, one should get familiar with his or her own culture first. Delve deeper into all intricacies and peculiarities of your background and be prepared to share them with others. Knowledge is one thing that multiplies with sharing and in that cultural exchange, you will learn not only about others, but yourself as well. Also, it is essential that during that exchange, you remain open to suggestions and questions that may come up and that may not be all too pleasant. Avoid the stance that displays any supposed dominance of one culture over the other, as all cultures are valuable and equally important.

Learn as much as possible

It is highly recommended that you do your ‘homework’ before you set out to travel and meet different nations and cultures. Look for authentic resources and try to remember the important days and what sort of customs are related to particular celebrations. By doing so, you won’t be caught off guard if you happen to be there during those festivities. Also, look for similarities between your own culture and the culture you want to get familiar with, since finding some common ground is the best starting point. Feel at liberty to ask questions and don’t be afraid to show you know only a little and that you are willing to learn. This will prove invaluable in all future interactions and will put you in a position to truly grasp one’s way of life.

Avoid stereotypes at all cost

Although we won’t argue with the fact that there can be some truth behind the generalisations made regarding certain nations around the world, that is not something you should bring up when talking to foreigners, and especially if you are to learn more about their culture. Examples that include the beliefs that Mexicans are lazy or that all Americans are fat are merely wrong and can lead to a heated debate that may result in a more severe conflict. It takes an enlightened person to feel comfortable enough to speak about character flaws without getting offended and thinking he or she is being ridiculed. Be respectful of others and treat them the way you want them to treat you, and you will soon understand that we all have a lot of things in common.

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