By Geralde Vincent-Bancroft
Experiencing the culture is usually our aim when travelling to a new country. Although important, it can be difficult if you don’t know where to start.
In this blog post, we will discuss some ways that you can learn about the culture of your next travel destination. Whether you’re interested in the food, the history, or the art, there is something for everyone! Let’s get started.
First learn the language.
This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but if you want to get a true understanding of the culture, it’s important to learn the language. Learning the language will allow you to interact more with the locals , and you’ll be able to understand the culture in a way that you never could if you were only relying on translations. Even if you don’t plan on becoming fluent, learning some key phrases can go a long way. Not only will you be able to communicate with the locals, but you’ll also be able to read signs and menus, which can give you a deeper understanding of the culture.
What are the benefits?
Being able to know some phrases and expressions of the foreign language, gives you more confidence to get around, and you will for sure have a warmer reception from the locals who will get out of their way to be useful to you, as you are showing your appreciation and respect for their culture.
How to learn the language for travel?
You must be very selective and only learn what you are certain you will use. Picture all the situations where you will need to communicate in the foreign language.
These common situations are usually:
- Getting from the airport to the hotel
- Checking at the hotel (in and Out)
- Asking for a room
- Ordering in a restaurant/paying
- Getting directions
- A bus you must take
- Finding the train station
- Tickets’ costs
- How long does it take?
- Where the next stop is
- Asking for prices
- How much do things cost?
- Where is….
- In bars: ordering drinks
- Information about yourself that you will be asked.
If you are an absolute beginner at the language, start by learning greetings like hello, goodbye, please, thank you., good morning/afternoon/night. How are you? Yes, no. Sorry, the bill please, I don’t understand. Etc
Also learn numbers from 0 to 100, you can find them online and for the correct pronunciation you can use the Forvo tool to learn how they are pronounced correctly. Knowing numbers is always useful, you can handle money transactions, ask about which bus you should take or what platform is your train amongst other things.
Write all the information you will need in your notebook. Choose a subject daily and study the phrases to commit them to your memory.
Do your research about the culture
Before traveling to your destination, do some research on the culture. There are many things you can do, so find what works best for you.
One way to learn about the culture is by reading books or articles about the country. You can also watch documentaries or movies that are set in the country. Listening to music or watching videos of people from your destination place are also useful..
If you want to learn about the culture in a more interactive way, you can go to the country’s website and look for information about the culture. You can also search for websites that have forums or discussions. Another great way to learn is by talking to people who are from the country.
Attend cultural events.
Another great way to experience the culture of your next travel destination is to attend cultural events. This could involve going to a theatre performance, listening to traditional music, or even attending a religious ceremony. By doing this, you’ll be able to see the culture in action and learn more about the customs and traditions of that country.
Visit local museums and art galleries.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history and art of a particular country, then visiting local museums and art galleries is a great way to do it.
Visit historical sites to get a taste of the culture.
If you’re interested in learning about a culture, visit historical sites. These places can offer a wealth of information about the history and customs of a country. Be sure to do your research before you go, so you can choose the museums and sites that will be most interesting to you.
Try the local food.
One of the best ways to experience a culture is by trying the local food. This can be a bit daunting for those who don’t like to try new things, but it’s definitely worth it! Not only will you get to taste some amazing dishes, but you’ll also learn a lot about the way of life and the ingredients that are used.
Take part in local activities.
This could mean going to a traditional music concert, attending a parade or festival, or simply visiting a local market. By doing this, you’ll get to see the culture from a local’s perspective and you’ll be able to interact with the people in a more casual setting. It is also a great way to make new friends who will be happy to show you the most authentic aspects of their daily lives.
Travel wide and far to experience the culture.
If possible, visit local villages. These places tend to be more in touch with their
traditions and it is a better way to grab the authentic culture than staying in the big cities.
No matter how you choose to learn about the culture, make sure that you are respectful of the people and their customs. When you travel to a new country, be open-minded and try to learn as much as you can. Experiencing the culture is one of the best ways to learn about a new place, so make sure to enjoy your time there!