Oktoberfest 2015

5 Ways to Immerse Yourself in Local Culture

Following my last contribution to the Travelling Brown Girls Carnival, the theme for this post is ways to immerse yourself into the local culture. I’ve selected five ways to help all tourists to leave a destination with more than a few photos.

Understand the religion and associated beliefs

Do your research beforehand and understand the dynamics of the country you are visiting. Having an appreciation of the cultural aspects of your destination can enrich your visit. For example, respecting the Catholic faith in Dublin or observing Ramadan in Dubai has provided me with a new insight to each respective faith.

Respect the laws

Did you know…

  • In Dubai, it is not permitted to take pornographic material, anti-Islamic material and drugs are not to be taken into the country.
  • All motorcyclists in Jamaica are required to wear a helmet.
  • In France, it is illegal to take photos of police officers, even if they are in the background of your photos.
  • It is illegal to smoke indoors in Dublin.
  • It is illegal to shout offensive words in any public place in Mexico.

These are just a few examples of laws from countries that I have travelled to. Always consider that laws in your home country may not apply – and respect those of the land you’re travelling to!

Take a cooking class

Learn first hand how to prepare and cook some classic dishes. Understanding how the ingredients and how the flavours come together will stick in your mind and will help contribute to a fruitful experience.

Celebrate the festivals

On my travels, I have always enjoyed experiencing festivals to get closer to the culture. Whether it’s a music festival like Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica, or Songkran in Thailand, it’s a really good way to get involved and feel a little closer to something that is meaningful to the community.

Respect the pace of life

In parts of Jamaica, the buses aren’t on a fixed schedule – they generally leave when they are full. Your next alternative is a bus or to drive yourself – there are no trains. In contrast, Europe has a well connected infrastructure which makes it easy to travel around with few limitations.

Whether it’s the travel network or service in restaurants for example, be prepared to adjust your expectations and be realistic.

Do you have any suggestions for further ways to immerse yourself into the local culture?

12 thoughts on “5 Ways to Immerse Yourself in Local Culture”

  1. Participate in the festivals is a great tip and something that I’m aiming to get better at. Lots of travelers create travel schedules based on events and festivals that they would like to attend. It sounds like the ideal way to have a wonderful cultural experience in a location, meet the locals and maybe even make some friends.

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    1. It really is, I made great friends with two ladies at Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica as we already had a common interest – nothing like music to bring people together. Have you ever visited a place with the main attraction of a festival?

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      1. I attended Essence Festival this year. It was amazing with so much to do and so many people. It was easy to connect with folks who were there by using Social Media and I also left with a few additions to my “friends” and “followers” lists. This event was an easy choice for me since I already love New Orleans, but I would love to attend a festival in a place that I’m not familiar with.

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  2. Thank you for the comments so far ladies, all very good points. @Eva, those are two key components of travel in certain destinations, Dubai was the first that came to mind however it’s very easy to NOT contravene their laws just by being conscious and respectful.

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  3. All for anything involving food. Never did a formal cooking class, but love inviting people over and helping (but mostly watching and learning) about different foods.

    I’ve met most of my friends in Jamaica at concerts, festivals and other events around the island. It’s a lot easier to break the ice.

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