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Embrace Culture: Benefits of Immersing in a New Country

Man ready to embrace culture in another country
When you live in a different country, be ready to embrace culture and diversity.

Are you moving to a new country? Then you’re in for an adventure!

Uprooting yourself from your home place and settling in a different environment with unfamiliar faces and sometimes even with a foreign language to boot is a great adventure of a lifetime.

Internationality is quickly becoming the norm in our constantly connected and innovative world. We find more and more cities becoming melting pots of culture, employees of different nationalities in one workplace, and interracial marriages happening left and right.

Finding yourself in this global phenomenon is inevitable. It might be frightening at first but take it as a unique way to experience life from a broader perspective, embrace culture, and deepen your understanding of the world and most especially yourself.

Benefits of Learning Other Cultures

1. Widens Knowledge and Creativity

One of the benefits of learning about other cultures is gaining a wealth of knowledge and creative inspiration. There is a wide range of fresh insights to learn from a country of different climate, geography, and way of living, may it be mundane like cleaning strategies, or more complex like how to raise children. What’s more, understanding different perspectives allows more efficient and holistic problem-solving.

Exposure to new ideas will also nurture one’s creativity. A tropical country will have a different color palette, musical taste, and culinary flavors compared with a country from a temperate region. This gives an advantage in cultivating artistry and intelligence. Accepting the other culture with a sense of openness and complementarity is key to making the most of this learning experience.

A traditional dance showcasing cultural background and identity
Learning traditions can help in understanding a country’s cultural background and identity.

2. Cultivates Better Self-Awareness and Understanding

There is no better experience to get to know yourself than being among people who are very much unlike you. When we are in our own country, we don’t notice the characteristics that are particular to us. But when we are surrounded by people who speak their thoughts indirectly, for example, we begin to realize that we have a more direct way of expressing ourselves.

The difference in cultural background and identity can contribute to culture shock and can make you feel frustrated. But you can take it as a lesson in understanding who you are, your values, and your limitations. The better you know yourself, the easier it is for you to be flexible and adjust to a new environment because you will know how to adapt without losing yourself in the process.

3. Enriches Interpersonal Skills

Living in a different country is a privilege to meet people of different backgrounds. This is a great way to nurture your interpersonal skills, which is indispensable in navigating life in general. Such personal encounters can also increase your emotional quotient, which is as valuable as IQ in attaining fulfillment in life.

Real people with real stories are one of the best resources you can learn from. Learning how to deal with different personalities in varied circumstances will hone valuable qualities in you such as patience, generosity, and compassion.

How Do You Embrace Diversity

1. Be Respectful and Non-Judgmental

Coming from a different culture means you bring with you a set of norms, behavior, and beliefs that are often different from the culture of your new place. It’s not about which culture is better or right but the reality is that there is a difference in which values we emphasize and how we are accustomed to doing certain things.

Understanding this reality helps one to embrace culture, and be respectful and non-judgmental toward people in a foreign country. Maintain an open mind and stretch your spectrum of possibilities because more often than not, our presumptions may be mistaken and incomplete.

2. Learn the New Culture

To better understand your new reality, it is always beneficial to try to educate yourself about the culture you’re living in. Read about the people, their history, traditions, and values. Try to get in touch with a community of expats or ask a local you know if you have questions or if certain things in the culture confuse you.

You can also try to learn their language if it is appropriate for your context and you have the resources to do so. Who knows, it may come in handy whether to try to impress someone or just to buy food from a store.

3. Empathize with Others

One danger though of being bookish with learning about a culture is promoting stereotypes and seeing reality as statistics and categories. But the culture you experience is through actual persons and events and so there needs to be a balance between absorbing information and putting a culture in a box. Try to see how culture influences identity through concrete encounters with people.

Empathizing with them by getting to know them and putting yourself in their shoes will give you more understanding than what you get from the internet or books. Converse and work with them, and share your own story as well. New friendships may arise and they will truly be a treasure as you go down memory lane.

A team composed of people of different backgrounds
Encountering people of different backgrounds is part of immersing in a culture.

Why is it Important to Immerse in the Local Culture and Traditions as a Foreigner?

Above all, an effective way to understand the culture of a particular place is by immersing yourself in it. As they say, experience is the best teacher.

Befriend some locals, may it be your colleagues or neighbors. Try out native dishes and drinks, listen to their music, go to a museum, or watch a play or movie. You can also join town celebrations, volunteer in an outreach program, or just walk around the city and see who you bump into.

Do not be afraid to embrace culture and discover the wonder of diversity but also try to prepare yourself for the wildest surprises. No matter how adventurous we are, we can still be caught off-guard either by a strong-smelling delicacy or a seemingly harmless conversation that goes lost in translation.

As the internet and easier travel make our world smaller, we see more and more the importance of embracing cultural diversity. Learning another culture, especially by living in one, may sound daunting but it is a unique experience that is truly rich and fulfilling.

When we embrace diversity, we gain more out of our experience and live more harmoniously with others and with ourselves. We emerge with a lighter and more generous heart that does not only understand and appreciate our own culture but also know how to welcome and enjoy that of others.

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