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How to learn more about another culture without traveling

Visiting a new place gives you a new perspective on the world. When you travel, you have the chance to engage with different cultures and learn about unique traditions, customs, and languages. But recently, travel has come to a halt. When we are staying inside our homes or only traveling within our neighborhoods, it can be challenging to learn about different cultures.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible – you just have to get creative.

We’ve rounded up a few of the best ways to get a travel experience and learn about different cultures when traveling isn’t an option.

Travel the World Virtually

There are so many ways to explore the world from your home.

Google Arts & Culture has a vast collection of virtual museum tours, city walks, and more. A quick search could transport you to the Frida Kahlo Museum in Mexico City or will give you the chance to learn about the iconic Indian sari.

The New York Times also put together a guide to help you virtually explore each of the destinations on their 52 Places to Go in 2020 list. Use this to learn more about fascinating cultures in places like Poland, Japan, or Uganda.

If you are interested in learning directly from people who live in different countries, consider signing up for an Airbnb Online Experience. This allows you to interact with locals around the globe who open their homes to share virtual cooking classes, history lessons, walking tours, and more.

Watch TV or Movies

Documentaries and foreign-language films are an excellent way to learn about different parts of the world. Browse the offerings on your streaming service and allow yourself to be transported to a far-off destination.

There are plenty of travel shows out there, so find one that looks interesting and see where it takes you. A few great options include Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations or Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi.

Read a Book from an International Author

If you’re tired of binging TV shows, books are another excellent way to experience another culture from the comfort of your own home. Many best-selling books from abroad have English translations available.

Why not use this time to catch up some international classics, such as One Hundred Years of Solitude or The Alchemist, or check out some recently-released and highly anticipated translated novels from 2019 and 2020?

Cook International Food at Home

Watching these travel shows might inspire you to try cooking international dishes at home.

This is not only a fun activity to pass the time, but it will help you learn more about different cultures in the process. Consider buying a cookbook that highlights a cuisine that is new to you. Or find inspiration from an international food blogger.

You can also revisit the Airbnb Online Experiences and take a cooking class directly from a chef in Colombia, India, and beyond.

Get Global Take-Out

Another way to travel with your taste buds is to order authentic international take-out from a local restaurant. Research the options in your community and see where you can go without leaving town. Try something new and use it as a learning experience. While you are eating, consider researching the region where the cuisine originated to learn more about that culture.

Although travel has slowed down, we can still use this time to learn about different cultures around the world. Take virtual tours, try new foods, and get creative. Above all, have an open mind and see what you can discover without leaving your neighborhood.

ALTA is a language services company providing language training, translation, interpretation, testing, and more.

Stephanie Brown is a New York City-based travel blogger and freelance content creator.
You can find her at The Adventuring Millennial.

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