Why is it important to learn about new cultures?


It doesn’t matter where you are living, it is likely that you encounter people from different cultures regularly.

We are all individuals with different backgrounds, and cultural awareness allows you to celebrate the differences, as well as the similarities. This will contribute to debunking stereotypes you and others may have of other nations, cultures and their people.

Cultural awareness is key to understanding the world and the people you meet. It allows you to build stronger relationships and have more meaningful interactions with them through a common understanding.

Understanding the stark differences in some cultures will help you to have more empathy for those you see struggling culturally. It will also increase the respect you have for them once you understand where they have come from.

On a more practical level, cultural awareness will help you to communicate better. Understanding customs in other countries in terms of body language and forms of address can be key to successful co-existence and co-working.

So, what are the best ways to learn about new cultures?

Learn a New Language

Learning a new language means being able to communicate effectively with different groups of people, making it easier to learn about their cultures. It will also allow you to communicate on a deeper level by using words and phrases that connect to the person and their culture. The way that language is used in different contexts will tell you a lot about the culture. Let’s take Italian for example. The Italian language is associated with romance and passion, primarily due to the way the language is used and how expressive and animated Italians are when speaking. Interested in learning Italian? You can find Italian classes near you or try learning with an online learning platform or app.

Interact with those around you from different cultures

Is there any better way to gain cultural awareness than directly from someone who has experienced it as a native? Of course not! You may already know people from other countries who would be willing to share their culture and experiences. If not, then head over to social media in your target language and connect with people there.

Eat and cook foods from different countries

The food we eat and how we eat it, tells us a lot about a country’s culture. From the fragrant spices of Indian cuisine, usually eaten with your hands and not cutlery, to the bold tastes offered in Asia and eaten with chopsticks. Knowing international cuisines will also open you up to conversations with natives about their food.

Read and Watch More

News, novels, films and other online resources translated to your native language will give you an insight into a country’s culture. There are many  online resources that can be read in the original language (if you are learning it as a second language) or translated into a language you can read. Prefer watching to reading? Get stuck into a great movie with subtitles or watch a TV series. There are some great platforms like Tutflix, that have a host of videos where you can communicate and share notes on language and culture with the community.

See some art

Art, like food, will tell you a lot about another culture. Art is usually a reflection of morals, beliefs and values that the artist expresses through their pieces. It will also give you an insight into the history of a country that you may not be familiar with. Understanding the historical trials and tribulations of a people will help you to understand them better and may explain elements of behaviour and language that were previously a mystery.

Concluding on Culture

Whatever your nationality or country of residence, you probably live  in a multicultural hot pot. Improving your cultural awareness helps to debunk myths and stereotypes about the people you share your city, town or village with. It will allow you to expand your knowledge, linguistic awareness and culinary skills. If you’re really committed, you can even try learning a new language. This will allow you insights into culture that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise.