5 ways to experience a new culture while traveling

experience a new culture while traveling

The thrill of experiencing a new culture while traveling is the most unique and genuine way you can get to know a new country. Embracing a culture goes far beyond visiting museums, art exhibits, or archeological ruins. Taking the time to immerse yourself and experience the difference is something that requires effort, which is why most people end up choosing the easy traveler way, the way of the tourist. As a tourist, you are observing a new culture through the looking glass, since there’s a big difference between observing a culture’s tradition and wondering ‘why’, and observing it and knowing the ‘why’. Traveling to another country without making the effort to experience, learn, and immerse yourself in the culture is nothing but merely a change of scenario from back home.

Embracing a new culture gives you the chance to become a global citizen, to have a better understanding of the World, to learn new ways of thinking about different situations, and to become a better and wiser human being. Cultural travel is my passion, so I will share with you the 5 ways that make me experience a new culture the most while traveling.

go check this article about how to make friends from different cultures while traveling 

Research before you arrive

This, for me, is one of the keys to successfully getting to experiencing a local culture the right way. Prior to arriving in a new country, you should read about the country’s culture, the people you will be interacting with, the way they react to certain things, and the way they think. There’s no need to insult someone in their own country by doing or saying something that back in your country is perfectly acceptable. You just have to read about it first-hand.

The truth is if you learn about the culture before you arrive, and if you try to live as the locals do, you will have a more genuine and unique experience because they will treat you differently and accept you more easily. Emulating a country’s culture is one of the highest forms of respect you can pay to that country’s people.

experience a new culture while traveling

Don’t be afraid to start a conversation

Amazing things happen when you break out of your comfort zone and you start speaking to people you haven’t met before. One of the best ways to get to know a culture is exactly this: to talk and to listen. You get to know more about where you are, what’s happening in the community, unwritten gender policies, religious issues, and so forth. It’s the deepest insight into a country that you could ever get.

Some of the most interesting people I met on my travels were because of the fact that I just sparked a conversation with whomever I felt like the homeless guy on the street, the girl working at the cafe counter, the businessmen walking alongside me on the street, it doesn’t matter. As long as you feel like you need to do it, you should do it. The worst thing that can happen is them saying ‘I don’t want to talk, thank you’. But you know what? So long, it hasn’t happened to me once. Chances are it won’t happen to you. People like it when you take an interest in their life, in their country, in their culture, even if you’re a complete stranger.

Explore the Road Less Traveled

You can still find a lot of urban culture in cities, but these are usually where museums and tourist attractions are located, and where the country’s culture gets a lot more diluted, due to all the factors that go together with living in a main city, which usually creates a homogeneous society. Once you get to the rural areas, the scenery changes quite a bit.

Hospitality is usually more traditional, natural beauty is abundant, and local people have more traditional knowledge. You can get a major insight into a country’s cultural history by sitting in a local pub in a small countryside village and speaking to the locals. I’m not saying this is not possible in a city, but in the rural part of the country there’s no need to filter and search for those places, they are all unique and genuine.

Do what the Locals do

If you want to get immersed in the local culture of a new country, you need to share experiences with the community. Talking and listening are very important and enriching, but the best way to feel and learn raw cultural knowledge is to practice their traditions. Don’t be afraid to try, or to ask to try: sometimes people are actually waiting for you to do it. Locals will be thrilled to teach you their traditions and to share their cultural knowledge with you, as long as you respect and understand that sometimes there are boundaries that cannot be trespassed, especially on a religious level.

experience a new culture while traveling

Travel slowly

When you travel slowly, you have a much better chance to connect with the locals, to make friends, and to experience more intensely the traditional lifestyle of the country where you are traveling. You don’t need to rush things, you can take your time immersing in the culture, and many times unexpected traditional events happen when you decide to stay in a place for a longer time! There’s no point in moving from one place to another if you still haven’t absorbed the culture of the place where you stand: it’s better to visit one country and get to know it by heart than to visit multiple ones and only scratch the surface of the country’s cultural knowledge.