The Value of Understanding a Different Culture

The world is a wide and diverse melting pot of cultures dating back to pre-recorded history. With the development of the internet, different cultures can be looked up quickly and bullet points are provided about religion, recent events/issues, societal norms, and so on. This can give you a sense of culture, but to truly open your mind to another culture is to immerse yourself in their customs. One of the best ways to do so is to volunteer abroad! But why do this? Let's find out below:

Why Connect With Different Cultures? 

You can learn to value and respect the lives other people lead, in addition to your own life. People who live in other parts of the world, people who look different than you, or people who may experience hardships and discrimination deserve to be understood. It’s easy to put these people out of your mind and not think about struggles that will never affect you, but you can learn so much from these cultures and groups. Not only can you learn to respect and value their life, but you can learn to appreciate yours more. 

 

You can help to eliminate stereotypes and enhance communication about different cultures. While you may be able to experience other worldviews, some people don’t have the opportunity or were never taught to think with the world and other cultures in mind. After immersing yourself in these cultures, learning from them, and asking questions, you can take that information and your new experience and help others understand. 

 

You can connect to people better. Being more aware of different cultures allows you to be able to communicate and socialize with those cultures better. Learning cultural norms or even languages helps to create more kind and meaningful interactions and deeper relationships with others. 

What Can YOU Do About It? 

It’s easy to feel empathy for a certain group or to care about different cultures, but it’s the action you take that matters. Here are some ways you can immerse yourself in cultural diversity: 

 

  • Study another language. Learning a language doesn’t just help you communicate in the most traditional sense, but it teaches you how people who speak different languages than you present themselves, what slang they use in pop culture, what they value in their speech, and so much more. 
  • Place yourself in diverse situations. Interact with people from different backgrounds than you, attend social events centered on awareness, or visit art exhibits. You can learn a lot from people who share their experiences at events and maybe even gain new friends. 
  • Eat and drink authentic cuisine from other countries. Enlightening your palette and trying new things can go a long way toward learning about other cultures and what they like. 
  • Be open to different religious or cultural celebrations. Even if your beliefs or values are different, listen and observe with an open mind. 
  • Travel. The greatest way to fully understand a different culture is to find yourself in the middle of it. - literally.

By volunteering abroad you can help break down barriers and possible preconceived notions that may or may not separate us. By helping those abroad you're not just helping someone in need with an immediate issue, but you’re helping to improve your own worldview and theirs as well. After all, we are stronger together. Contact us today to learn how you can help make our one world a better place!

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