The chance to experience different cultures, traditions and customs is one of the most amazing things about travelling. However, you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds flying to a faraway destination to delve into a new culture. The UK, and London especially, is one of the world’s most vibrant multicultural cities, so you can learn about other beliefs and traditions right at home.
Learning about different cultures has a plethora of rewards – it increases understanding and tolerance for others, can enhance creativity and generally gives you a better idea of the world we live in. Religion, cuisine and language are just a few ways to expose yourself to different cultures. If you’d like some new experiences, here are a few ideas for learning about new cultures in your homeland.
Talk to people
If you have a neighbour or a work colleague who is from a different cultural background than yourself, strike up a conversation with them. Londoners are often afraid of casual conversation but it’s the best way to break down barriers. If there’s anything you’re desperate to know, just ask them! Tell them you’re really interested in their culture and they may arrange to meet up with you to explain more, or show you some relevant cultural sites. If you prefer to meet and talk to new people in a more structured way, then conversation or language exchanges can be a great way to do this. In London, for example, there are language exchange meet ups happening all the time.
Host an international student or worker
London attracts thousands of young people who arrive to study at a world class university or start their careers. Many of them choose to stay in homestay accommodation, so they can enjoy a comfortable experience with meals on the table – like staying with a relative. If you have sufficient space in your house, you could sign up to become a host family and welcome these foreign students. You can swap stories about your own culture and traditions and it’s a fantastic way to learn more about different places you’ve never visited.
Try new foods
Food is such a huge part of a culture, and to fully embrace another culture you’ll need to sample the cuisine. You could never visit a country without trying the local delicacies, but there are plenty of international restaurants across the capital. From Indian curries to the finest French dishes, you could probably find all types of fare somewhere in London. Go on a world taste discovery without leaving your home town – it’s a privilege to have it on your doorstep. Of course when you visit these places you can talk to the staff and the patrons about the origins of the cuisine and the culture should you wish to find out more.
Take an alternative city tour
Whether you are visiting a new city for the first time or whether you just want to try something different where you live, why not book an alternative city tour? These tours take you away from the obvious and show you a completely different perspective on any city. In London, this could be a tour of the arts scene given to you by an arts expert, or one that takes you round the secret bits of St Paul’s Catheral!
One of life’s greatest pleasures is the ability to experience different cultures – so why not do it today?