How to Experience a Different Culture from Home

Jul 30, 2020 10:11:00 AM / by Antonia Bignotti

Curious about other cultures and different ways of living? Antonia shares three simple, but creative ways to be in the know and get a taste of experiences from around the world — all from where you are right this minute. Let yourself be transported through movies, music, food, vlogs, and more!

One activity I am missing out on this summer is travel. Many of us were looking forward to discovering new locations and diving into exploring their cultures. Staying home is quite literally the opposite of travel, but with a bit of creativity there are still ways you can experience a different culture from your own home. Instead of dwelling on canceled plans and lost opportunities I invite you to get creative and think of new plans while staying safe at home. In this post I will present three simple and small activities to add to your daily routine or try this weekend.

1. Switch Up Your YouTube Playlist

My favorite travel vlogger is Elena Taber. She does a great job of showing new places and has good travel tips.My favorite travel vlogger is Elena Taber. She does a great job of showing new places and has good travel tips.

Venture outside of your favorite YouTubers and look up some travel vlogs of places you would like to visit. There is a large variety of travel vlogs so you will likely be able to watch the perspective of different vloggers on one location. It is important to note that these vlogs will show you the perspective of tourists. I encourage you to also look for daily vlogs or videos from YouTubers native to that country. A quick Google search will show you the most popular vloggers from that location.

Another good idea is looking up “A day in quarantine vlog in …” and add a country or city. It is interesting to watch what people in different places are doing while staying at home and social distancing.

Screenshot of Sarah Harmon - CAPA remote vloggerSarah Harmon is a fellow CAPA student who's vlogging this summer about her experience interning remotely in Florence while taking a class in London.

If you want to see the experience of a fellow remote intern check out Sarah’s vlogs. She will be sharing her experience as a remote intern in Florence while taking a class in London and share tips along the way.

2. Explore Your Streaming Services

Give your summer playlist a twist and look for new music on these Top 50 playlists.Give your summer playlist a twist and look for new music on these Top 50 playlists.

If you are running out of shows to binge watch or new music to listen to, it's time for you to explore the international side of your streaming services. If you are subscribed to Netflix, insert a country or language into the search bar and it will show you series and movies filmed in that location or native to the language. You will find anything from rom-coms to critically acclaimed films. Similarly, Spotify creates “Top 50” playlists for different countries where you can tune into what is popular around the world. Other streaming services like Apple music also have a selection of music from around the world.

3. Food

My attempt at homemade Pad Thai.My attempt at homemade Pad Thai.

Whether you are cooking, ordering takeout, or buying snacks online; food is a great way to explore a new culture. While you may not be able to cook like a local, you will still be introduced to new techniques and ingredients. If cooking sounds daunting start with a drink or even a new way of preparing your daily coffee. Another option is ordering takeout. Search for new restaurants near you that serve international food. Bonus points if you support a small business. Lastly, try new snacks and flavors that are not originally from the U.S. You can research them or blindly choose a variety pack on Amazon or a supermarket.

Some of my favorite CAPA global events are cooking classes. Last week I attended a class based in Florence on how to make risotto. It was great to learn and see how the meal is cooked but also an opportunity to meet other interns. This week one of my goals is to replicate the dish for a family dinner.

I hope you have fun trying new activities at home. I encourage you to share these activities with others by arranging a movie night or dinner, or create a joint playlist with friends. This may not be the same as traveling but it will definitely give you a taste of it. Who knows, maybe you will be inspired to start planning your next trip.

Thanks, Antonia!

Antonia Bignotti

Antonia Bignotti is an official CAPA blogger for summer 2020, sharing her story in frequent posts on CAPA World. A Human Biology major from the University of Kansas, she is remotely studying abroad in London this semester.

Antonia's journey continues all semester so stay tuned.

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Topics: London, England, Local Culture, Online Study Abroad