The World is Your Oyster

Traveling is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in different cultures and learn about the world. That’s one of things I like the best about it. In many ways, traveling is not at all like relocating abroad, but there are some common aspects that we can tap into to gain a deeper understanding about the world. Here’s how you can make the most of either experience.

Engage with the locals. Connecting with the residents is a great way to get a feel for the place. Whether it’s speaking to the local coffee shop owner or an employee in a shop, locals are willing to share insights you won’t find online or in a guidebook. For instance, an Uber driver shared with us his favorite restaurants in Edinburgh.  They were all delicious!

Join in local activities. There are plenty of local activities in any location, but especially in larger cities. Local online resources can point you in the right direction. Whether you want to go to a rock concert, hear chamber music in a grand cathedral, take a dance class or join a community event, these are all great ways to absorb the local culture.

Try the local cuisine. What better way to get the “flavor” of a culture than by trying the local cuisine? Almost every city has a local market where you can try some street food or duck into a local eatery to taste the regions flavors and culinary traditions.

Visit historic sites and museums. No matter where you travel, locals are proud of their heritage and history. These sites are treasure troves of information about the history art and culture of the place. This is a great way to understand the region.

Respect local traditions and customs. Respecting local customs and traditions is crucial. This might mean dressing modestly in certain places, learning a few phrases in the local language, or observing local etiquette.

Use public transportation. Using buses, trains, or other local public transport can give you a better sense of everyday life in the area and is often an adventure. While in London recently, we were asked to evacuate the Tube Station.  As one of the trains were pulling out there was a small explosion!

Take a guided tour with a local. This is where you discover little known facts, tidbits and insights about the local culture that you may miss on your own. Often tour guides have amazing stories to tell. They can take you off the beaten path and provide a more nuanced perspective on the place. For instance, we were standing in Market Square in Cambridge, and a local tour guide approached us for a tour. He was fantastic and explained everything about all the colleges peppered with amazing stories.

All these activities offer a deeper engagement with the culture. When you subscribe to either Living Abroad’s International Relocation Center or Global Business Travel Center, you can find resources for local activities, cuisine, historic sites and museums, navigating public transportation, learning social customs, and if you’re there for business, you’re covered for all aspects of business norms and etiquette.

Happy travels!