Today, the world is fast becoming a global village, with many countries enjoying a multicultural environment. Understanding different cultures is not only critical, but it also promotes ample coexistence. As we learn about diverse cultures, it is worth noting that all of us are individuals. Rather than generalizing, we should treat each other as individuals. This will go a long way in creating a better environment where we can all thrive.
What is Culture?
Culture is everything that describes a particular group of people. The group can be; a family, a religious group, or people from a different town, neighborhood, country, or city. It can also be people who share a similar ethnic background, life dynamics, or work culture. Many times, culture is used to describe the features that are exhibited through history, language, food, arts, geography, family values, and beliefs.
One person can have diverse cultures such as; family culture, religious culture, age group culture, or work culture. When all these cultures are combined, they give each individual their personal culture. There are various ways that both children and adults can learn about different cultures. These include:
Diversify Your Reading Practice
Rather than reading books written by people you identify with, adopt a practice of reading books written by different people from different cultures. This helps you learn numerous facts about the culture. Further, you’ll be able to identify with the culture better.
Understand Different Geography and Economic Practices
Economics and geography of any country are critical and closely associated. You can begin by establishing the following.
- What are the trading practices of this culture? Do they use trade or money?
- Does the culture have any resources?
- Does the culture specialize in exports? If they do, what do they mainly export?
- What role do these things play in terms of their cultural practices and beliefs?
Interact with People who come from Diverse Cultures
This is one of the ideal ways of learning and understanding other people’s cultures. One way of achieving this is going for international camps. The advantage of attending these camps is that you meet people from different countries and races. Not only do you learn about their culture, but you also teach them your culture.
Having a one on one interaction with people helps you hear their stories first hand. Leverage this opportunity to ask questions you may have about the culture, and teach them everything they want to know. This way, you learn from each other.
Sample Food from Other Cultures
Food plays a critical function in human existence. Further, the food we all consume is connected to our culture. You can learn and understand a specific culture by sampling their food. There would be no way of comprehensively defining culture without evaluating its cuisine.
Food is an extensive need, and regardless of where you are, or where you come from, you need food. Chances are that many of our social cultures emanated from food. In the past, for instance, people would wander through the land to hunt and gather food. While food practices have changed in the modern-day, it remains one of the uniting factors for people across the world.
What are the Benefits of Learning Different Cultures?
In today’s ever-changing world, people world over are fast realizing the importance of learning, understanding, and appreciating diverse cultures. Why is this necessary? It plays a major role in developing communities that excel in problem-solving and enhancing varying conditions. Let’s discuss the benefits of understanding different cultures.
· You get to understand the World Better
The world comprises of people with diverse cultures. Where possible, being exposed to different cultures helps you embrace and appreciate people that are different from you. Further, the more your children interact with other children from different cultures, the more they respect and value them.
Going for summer camps are a great way of exposing your children to diverse cultures and practices. Whether they will interact with other children from different countries or regions, they will learn something new during camp.
· Minimize Stereotypes
When your children learn about people and their different cultures, they’ll be less likely to classify them depending on stereotypes. Remember, everybody is different and what one person does shouldn’t be used to define an entire community.
· Helps Prevent and Overcome Ethnic and Racial Divisions
Ethnic and racial divisions can hurt society. For instance, it could lead to a lack of opportunities, misunderstandings, and in the worst cases, violence. Communities marred by ethnic and racial rivalry often suffer from both human and financial resources. These vices distract communities from finding concrete solutions to their budding issues.
· Enhances Effective Communication
Language is a critical part of human communication. However, it’s not the only contributing factor to effective communication. Culture enhances communication in varying ways. For instance, culture can influence speaking tendencies such as; figurative language, speed, and presentation. Culture also contributes to the way people depict their gestures and body language.
· Creates Opportunity to Meet New People
There are different ways of meeting new people. For instance, participate in different celebrations, attend camp, visit people from diverse cultures, and celebrate special days. This enables students, especially, to meet, interact with, and make new friends. This is an ideal way of expanding a student’s social circle and creating room for them to learn about different cultures.
· Exposure to New Experiences
Children can get exposed through; sampling new foods, participating in different cultural celebrations and listening to stories. Further, engaging in different activities such as art or even learning how to play a new musical instrument. Exposure to new things helps children to explore the world better.
Why Should You Learn Different Cultures?
Learning and understanding different cultures are critical in day to day life. Here are the reasons why you should be conversant with diverse cultures.
· They are Interesting
Learning about other cultures is interesting. Today we live in a digital world where children spend most of their time with their gadgets. To discourage a sedentary lifestyle, expose your children to different cultures from an early stage. Sending your children to camp is one way of achieving this. While on camp, your children will be exposed to different culture promoting activities. Having hands-on experience is better than reading or even watching the same on television.
· It Stimulates the Mind
Being exposed to culture learning opportunities stimulates your mind, and helps you think in diverse ways. It’s an ideal way of challenging your thought development and enhancing how you refine information.
· It Promotes Understanding
Lots of problems can arise from misunderstandings, especially because we live in a multicultural world. By learning and understanding different cultures you understand why people do things the way they do. When you identify with other people, you sympathize with their situation. This facilitates understanding and prevents misunderstandings.
· You understand various ways of doing things
Cultural practices shouldn’t be the reason why people oppress one another. While discarding some practices is impossible, some sections of different cultures need to be renounced. Learning about diverse cultures helps you realize that there are numerous approaches to life, and you may not be the best.
Many times, interacting with people from different cultures helps you view life from a different perspective. When you learn about different cultures, you establish new ways of thinking and approaching and solving problems.
· You become more prepared to cope with the Ever-Changing World
In today’s techno-savvy times, the world is rapidly becoming smaller. As people travel far and wide, there are high chances that you will encounter people with varying cultures. You’ll need to master the art of tolerating each other. Remember, you’ll also want people to tolerate you and the best way of achieving this is by being understanding.
This plays a major role in living in an all-round community and making you a versatile human being. If your children will be going to camp, they’ll need to learn about other cultures to avoid misunderstandings. Learning about other people’s customs and cultures gives enriches the children’s experience everywhere they go.
What’s the relationship between Language and Culture?
Language enables you to express your feelings and thoughts, facilitates communication, and allows you to exchange knowledge with others. To fully master a different language, you’ll need to understand the culture. It’s worth noting that to understand a different culture, you should strive to study the language associated with the culture.
This is attributed to the fact that language is highly depended on various factors. They include the ever-changing customs, values, and views of the people who speak it. Remember, language mirrors the beliefs and values of a culture, as well as our perception of the world. The difference between two cultures can be expressed through their languages, and understanding the differences helps you relate with people better.
There are various cultures, practices, beliefs, and norms in the world. Teaching children how to be culturally conscious and respectful of others prepares them to face the world. It’s an ideal way of reminding children that what they are conversant with may not always be the right way. By learning different cultures, children will have an easy time interacting with, and making new friends. Further, they will be able to solve culturally-based issues before they crop up.