When you know that you’re going to be traveling to a foreign country, you might have some mixed feelings. While most people look forward to international travel, the reality is that you’re going to be running smack dab into someone else’s culture. This can be a scary thing for people that aren’t looking for it, which means that you will need to make sure that you actually get things together in the proper way.
What is the proper way, you might ask? Well, you need to make sure that you’re ready to interact with other cultures. Some tourists feel that they should be getting the full experience when they go to a particular country, while others would be just fine if they never ran into any of the local people while they’re on vacation. Your mileage may vary, but you really owe it to yourself to get the full experience as much as possible before you say you don’t like it.
Generally speaking, you might want to start by attempting to learn the language of the country you’re going to be staying in for the length of your vacation. Now, notice that we didn’t say that you had to learn the language — you merely need to make an attempt. If you plan on going to Sweden, you might want to actually pick up a guidebook on learning the Swedish language. Being able to navigate your way through a few key phrases will show the local community that you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone. When people see that, it makes them really want to do whatever they can to help you get where you need to go. Even if you stumble a few times, you will still be surprised and amazed to see just how generous people can be. Now, still using the example of Sweden, you might find that the people you’re speaking to actually do speak your language — and they’ll respond to you in the language you’re most comfortable with.
Don’t be afraid to immerse yourself in the culture of where you’re staying as much as possible — it’s a really good way to see how other people live, and to notice the similarities that you have with people in other parts of the world.
Remember that when you travel to another country, you should do your best to respect their culture. If you are a woman traveling to a country that is primarily Muslim, you will need to make sure that you are careful to remain as conservatively dressed as possible. This is also the same for countries along the Indian subcontinent, as well as in Southeast Asia. You should try to blend in with your surroundings as much as possible. Even men should remain conservatively dressed, simply out of respect to the people that you’ll be living around for the duration of your vacation.
Overall, if you take the time to be culturally sensitive, you’ll have really no trouble making the most out of your first international trip — why not get started today?