4 Creative Ways to Learn About Different Cultures

Learning about different cultures can expand your understanding of the world around you. In this modern globalized world, migration has placed people from all over the globe in the same neighborhoods and communities. Having some understanding of world cultures is the trademark of a contemporary go-getter, and cultural understanding is key to empathetic intelligence. Here are four creative ways to start learning about another culture:

Utilize the Internet

The Internet is a great research tool for people trying to learn about different cultures. There are language training websites, dictionaries, pictures and videos, and a multitude of websites with facts and figures concerning the social, economic, and political environments around the world. The Internet offers access to online journals and e-books, which are a portable window to the world and its cultures. Go online to research, and even observe and join discussions with people around the world. Ask questions and seek out other enriching opportunities. Podcasts are also a viable online resource to learn about other cultures, and they are often available for free.

Travel or study abroad

The best way to learn about other cultures is to travel. While independent travel can be expensive and difficult to balance with employment, there are many ways to fund travel. Colleges offer many opportunities for students to study abroad. Most study abroad programs offer financial assistance, scholarships, and fundraising support. Also consider applying to organizations that offer volunteer opportunities abroad.

Immersion is the most effective way to learn about another culture. While the best way to immerse yourself is to travel, you can also immerse yourself in another culture within your community by visiting a museum or cultural center. Interact as much as you can with friends or neighbors of different cultures. Learn a new art form, whether visual or physical. Taking a dance, cooking, or martial arts class can allow you to express yourself, while also learning about others.

Learn a new language (or teach yours)

The best way to learn is to teach. Teaching your primary language to speakers of other languages is a great way to learn more about how we all communicate. The people you tutor can help reveal the cross-cultural similarities and differences between your customs and their own. Learning a new language is a challenge and takes real persistence. You may consider using audiotapes, videos, workbooks, or taking a class at one of your community colleges.

Visit the library

The library offers books, newspapers, and audio materials on multiple subjects, including a variety of cultures. You might consider reading travel books, specifically. Travel books are often written like walking tours and can be full of useful information. Reading non-fiction or biographies on foreign figures is also a great way to learn about other cultures. Consider reading works by foreign authors to hear different narrative voices. Plus, the best part is that library cards are often free.

When learning about other cultures, employ tact and seek out professionals to answer your questions and guide your cultural education. There are many creative and accessible ways to teach yourself more about the world around you. Surround yourself with diversity, and be a willing participant in conversations and activities surrounding culture.

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