Share Your Culture

First I want to say I’m proud of you. You have ventured to America to further your education and learned a new culture far away from home. You are adapting new values and hopefully understanding more about yourself. However, as you learn more about yourself I’m sure you desire, perhaps even long for, your new friends to know where you came from. Those friends you made at new student orientation and in Chem Lab are just as curious about your culture as you are about theirs.

I can understand the hesitation of not wanting to be vulnerable with those around you; you don’t want to be the one that is different. But bringing your differences to light can be just what your friends need. We all have something to teach one another. The more we share ourselves, and the more we learn about others, the more we realize we may not be that different after all. Here’s some tips on how to start sharing your culture with others!

Holidays: Traditional holidays not spent with family are rough, but a great opportunity to teach your cultural values and have people learn more about your country. Invite them to play your favorite games or share gifting ideas too so they can be a part. Show them pictures of how you celebrate back home. As best as you can, recreate the celebration you are accustomed to and invite your friends over. Don’t forget your favorite holiday dishes.

Food: No matter where anyone is from, food is a universal love. And not only on holidays. No matter the activity and event, if there is food involved, you can be sure that people will be there. Get some friends who are also from the same country to help you cook at your home or even the international center on campus so everyone can enjoy! If you can’t cook, call your mom on a video chat. My mom loves showing her cooking skills to my friends because she feels involved too.

Sports: They bring people together whether in cheers or tears. Show your friends your favorite team and have them watch with you. If they don’t know how the sport works it’s a perfect time to teach them! If the weather is good you can even demonstrate the sport and have a little friendly competition.

Wardrobe: This one is mostly for the ladies, but men if you got clothes to show off, please do so! If there’s a history or a story behind the outfit you or even your people wear, what a great way to get people intrigued! Also don’t be afraid to wear those clothes in public to show country pride. Clothes make great statements and conversation starters.

Music: Throwing a dance party or showing your favorite music videos to display your country’s style would be so cool. Not only an experience for everyone, but it could turn into a workout too! Show them your favorite music videos you and your friends back home loved.

Cultural norms: Talk about how your family does weddings, meal times, do’s and don’ts when greeting certain people, or what foods and drinks are frowned upon. Sometimes what we think is normal is quite the opposite to someone else.

I encourage you to share part of who you are with the people in your current community. The more you share, the more you make a home and before you know it you’ve created a home in two countries instead of just one.


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