The Importance of Learning About New Cultures

There is beauty all around the world in our holidays, food, and the way we dress. So, why is learning about different cultures important?

Why It’s Important

Considering that culture plays a huge role in a lot of people’s lives, and with the world becoming more and more interconnected as technology advances, it stands to reason that educating yourself on more than just your own culture should be a given. It should be mandatory for schools to teach tolerance towards everyone, no matter the background differences that people may have. It’s obvious that racism and hate comes from a place of ignorance therefore the best way to combat that is through education. There’s much that doesn’t get taught in schools but it is nonetheless egregious that a sense of openness and acceptance is not much more heavily promoted from a young age. 

We all would like for other people to be more understanding of our backgrounds and as such one of the best ways to grow compassion is to put yourself in other people’s shoes. Once you have a good comprehension of cultures that are half-a-world away from your own then you can better observe and point out the constant discrimination that goes on everyday and everywhere. Listening and absorbing information is one of the best skills anyone can ever have. That’s also an incredible way to grow as a person and build towards a better society for the near future. 

 

How and What You Can Learn

There are so many wonderful things that you can learn about so many different cultures all over the globe. If you’re from a western country chances are that you were never truly exposed to eastern cultures outside of stereotypes. So many harmful ideas as to what certain cultures persist of exist and this usually only breads hate. Best way to learn is to do proper research by reading how people from the cultures themselves describe their experiences and take in information. 

Observation is a skill that needs practice. Try to use your compassion to relate your experiences to other people and ask any question you might have to people who are within the culture you are interested in learning about. If you have certain stereotypes build within try to challenge yourself by getting to the inception of the stereotype that was created in you. Nothing good comes out of living your life with outdated ideas about others. We are living in times of change and with the way technology has advances so far, there is not a single excuse for people to still be this uninformed about people’s experiences outside of their own. 

Try new foods from a culture you’re interested in knowing more about. That always seems like a surefire way to get a firsthand integration into a new culture. After all, food is the key to the heart and if you want to get to the heart of an entire culture this could be the best way. Also, language is super important as well. Really anything you can do to experience the day-to-day life of other people will help expand your knowledge. Moreover as a fun trip you can also visit a museum that will give you a rundown of importance historical events or artifacts that could potentially help you a lot in your journey. Music also seems to always play a great role in many cultures hence listening to and exploring the traditional music scene helps. 

Sometimes the best way to learn about something in the present is to look back on the history of that specific thing. Same could be said about culture as well because knowing about a culture’s beginnings and evolution can help you understand how it got to be what it is now. Considering that culture shapes the way we think every single day, knowing how to reshape your perception and point-of-views is important. Another thing that you can learn is to analyze the interactions between people within a culture, which can be very helpful in further understanding how culture plays a role in our daily lives. This all works towards you becoming a more compassionate and better person overall who is willing to fight off all the build-in stereotypes that were created unwillingly prior. 

 

Again, just remember to keep an open mind and to be willing to learn new things. Eventually you will exercise your “compassion muscles” and in no time you’ll see that you’ve become a more understanding person. After all, don’t we all wish more people understood our own experiences better as well? 

 

Picture: Shutterstock / 1682688022


Read more about cultures from around the world here on Youth Time Magazine!

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