How to Immerse Yourself in a New Culture While Volunteering

Volunteering in a foreign land is not similar to reading about it in a book or hearing someone else’s volunteer experience. While visiting a foreign culture, international travelers want to get lifetime experience and it is not possible for them unless they immerse themselves in the culture they are visiting. Here are a few tips that will teach you to eliminate culture shock and give you a chance to become a part of the community.

Steps

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    Give yourself a mission: Before heading off to a new city, give yourself a mission to delve deep into the specific culture. It’s very important to review the general information about the country you are planning to visit. To do so read about the people, ask friends, co-workers or family members. Various books and online resources may also help you to get insight into the history, aesthetic values, political background and cultural norms of that particular region. This research will make volunteering easier for you.
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    Learn the language: While interacting with local people or community you may face some difficulties to understand what they want to say. So before your trip taking a language class or signing up for a workshop might be beneficial for you to expand your horizon. If you are unable to attend it physically then consider online courses so that you can communicate with citizen of the country that you are visiting and learn more about a cultural facet. Many global volunteering placement organizations also hold language and cultural orientation week for international volunteers, you can take advantage of that.
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    Befriend locals: Being a foreigner, instead of only talking to your travel agent, try chatting with local people. Look for the opportunities to meet locals and try to learn their culture, customs, and social etiquette. Attend local festivals and events and talk to them about their daily rituals.
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    Try new cuisine: If you are in a new place, you will be able to find countless restaurants offering burgers, pizza, pasta and all the food that you eat in your country. But do you really need another burger? I think while visiting a foreign country you should try local or some street food. This can be a good opportunity for you to interact with locals. So surprise yourself by tasting new food and enjoy different flavors.
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    Step out of comfort zone and take part in a home-stay. For those who really wants to learn about a culture from a ground level, taking part in a home-stay will be the best option. When you actually live with locals, you get glimpses into their everyday life. To get such type of insight you have to step outside of your comfort zone and have to opt an accommodation that reflects the local culture. Visiting a new place for such a noble task is a great way to expose yourself to new ways of thinking.

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Categories: Volunteer and Community Service