How To Truly Connect To & Understand Culture

Monday, February 19, 2024

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Culture is a big word, and it can mean many things at once. While it might elicit something of a groan to start an article like this, culture is anything that connects people and provides a common fabric of experience. So for instance, even the office at your place of work can have its own culture. Two people can develop their own culture of understanding after being friends for a decade.

But culture as we know it often relates to people, sometimes born out of geographical locations, ethnicities, shared culture heritage, and values. In some cases, cultures can connect and blend into something new. We need only look to many Gen Z individuals whose slang becomes a blend of many different cultures, creating a brand new method of communication. The internet itself is homogenizing the way we speak and connect, which is why the skull face emoji, once a relatively ominous symbol, is now considered an emblem to use when recognizing the humor in something. That’s a cultural change.

Perhaps you have a set of exciting travel experiences coming up. Maybe you’re wondering exactly how to get the best of culture and learn the most while you’re there. Never fear, because in this post we’ll discuss how to truly connect to and understand culture, which should inspire you to have the best time possible:

It’s All About Gastronomy
From delicious cuisine to the cultural centers of a nation’s food production, experiencing the true bounty of that particular part of Earth is a wonderful thing. It’s why heading on Tailor Made Wine Tours France can be such a great way to experience various countries because they show you the essence and the history behind the biggest movers, shakers, and preserving experts of the great winemaking tradition. Exploring a nation through your taste buds is not only smart, it’s appreciated by the locals.

Attend Cultural Events & Festivals
You might consider an event, holiday or seasonal activity as unrepresentative of what the culture is, but that’s not always the case. Sure, an event might be a limited span of time in which many different perspectives come together, but how a culture enjoys a certain event, especially if they have their own take on it, can be enlightening. For example, Thanksgiving in the US is very unique, while the American take on Halloween is also much louder, bolder and more celebratory than in other countries. Moreover, some hold amazing traditions, such as the carnival in Venice. Attending cultural events is not only fun, it can help you understand what a country and its culture values.

Understand Basic Communicative Signifiers
Some countries, like Italy, talk using their hands and are quite expressive. Others are more reserved. Many have figures of speech that might sound a little odd to you, but are benign or even welcoming to them. For example, if a British person welcomes you by saying “You alright?” - they’re not necessarily concerned with your health or worried about you, they’re greeting you. This is just one example. Learning the common fixtures and signifiers of day to day conversation can help you flow more easily from place to place, and have fun doing so. Luckily, the internet is a great resource, as are travel guides.

With this travel advice, you’re sure to better connect and understand culture going forward.