How to be a global citizen?
This is a question that often comes up in my conversations with industry leaders, coaches, consultants, working professionals and even moms in the playground.
I truly believe that global citizens can change the world and often engage in conversations on this topic, which naturally leads to the question: How can one be a global citizen?
More specifically, how can one be a global citizen if one lives in a certain country for a large period of time or even the entire year?
Is that even possible?
Yes, it is.
Here are 5 ways you can start to appreciate a new culture, embrace it, learn about it and grow your awareness about a world with constantly shrinking boundaries.
How to be a Global Citizen: Starting with Cultural Appreciation
Cultural appreciation is key to broadening our world view and opening up the windows of our mind when it comes to fostering relationships and building meaningful connections with those who are from diverse cultural backgrounds and ethnicities.
Here are 5 ways you can appreciate a new culture and cultivate a deeper understanding of it:
Travel Takes You Places
As someone who divides her time between Boston and Dubai, travel is 2nd nature to me.
I embrace travel as a wonderful means of opening up the doors of the world and bringing a multitude of cultural experiences at your fingertips.
From the co-passenger on the plane, to the cab driver for your ride home, to the wonderful people you meet in social situations when in a different country, to exploring the cuisines, the sights and the sounds, the cultural infusion is vivid and intense.
It’s up to you to slowly sip and savor it or try to take it in with one generous gulp.
Travel also brings you closer to appreciating where you live, delving deeper into the culture of your birth and discovering nuances you never knew existed.
Food Finds Favor as a Cultural Ambassador
With a world that’s constantly shrinking, rarely would you find multi-cultural cuisines not being served everywhere.
From Mexican to Italian to Indian to French, you can titillate your tastebuds with a culinary cultural experience.
Even the way the food is served reflects the cultural values of a country. Visit a Japanese restaurant to know what I mean.
Learn why food really knows no boundaries. You’ll find ingredients you use in your own kitchen being used to prepare exotic food from across the border. You’ll learn that flavours know no country but are rich and welcoming anywhere.
Food is a wonderful way to start appreciating a new culture and what it’s all about.
Books that Bring the World Closer
Reading is truly the way to travel and experience cultures from the comfort of your couch.
Books are one of the best ways to start your journey to be a global citizen.
Read authors from various cultures, pick coffee table books that showcase a country you want to know more about, follow blogs of people who stay there and share snippets of their lives with you.
Engage in Discussions to Discover the World
I’ve already shared how I answer the question, “Where are you from?” . Discussions and conversations that don’t box people up into “packages” are a key to absorbing and appreciating cultural diversity.
Understanding that someone doesn’t have to “belong” to just one place. That people can be more than the sum of their parts.
The next time you sit next to someone on a plane or train ride, spend time getting to know them, relating to their perspective and you may be surprised at truly how small the world can be.
Challenge Your Views to Create Cultural Appreciation
Finally and most importantly, our internal viewfinder needs adjusting in order to appreciate other cultures.
Sub-consciously we absorb a lot of our views about different cultures from people around us, the place we stay, and of course, the media.
Using travel, books, food and conversation can help us challenge our views, and where needed, change them.
Are you ready to be a global citizen? How can you start appreciating cultures other than your own?