According to a report by Reference, it’s impossible to account precisely for all the world’s cultures, but the report concludes there’s at least 5,000-6,000 distinct cultural identities. With countless ethnic beliefs, religions, languages, and traditional norms, each requires its own understanding – especially when traveling to diverse areas like Europe.
Europe is one of the most diverse regions in the world. It’s a cultural blend of unique architecture, history, food, and languages. With so many places to visit, it’s important to properly understand, adapt, and improvise in order to make the most from your experience.
Here we have listed seven easy and practical ways you can learn to respect and understand the diverse European cultures before you hop on that next long-haul flight!
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1. Do your research
The first thing that you should do before you travel somewhere is to do your research. This should be applied to any trip which will help you better understand the places you will be visiting. Without proper research, a trip lacks substance.
Even if you are open to spontaneous experiences, it doesn’t mean that you do it without any prior knowledge. A new place is full of new people who might not have the same understanding of the world and certain situations. Always better to do your local research to avoid awkward moments.
Get all the important cultural information.
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2. Find the similarities that help you relate
The European culture takes its influence predominantly from the ancient Greek and Romans. Their rich historical background was forwarded by the colonial British, Italian, and, French elite is still heavily seen today. And even though these cultures may overlap in places, they maintain stark contrasting differences.
Tip: The best way to find similarities between your cultures is look for a point of relatability. It will be something you feel is similar to how you have it at home. This will help you to fit in without questioning or judging the new cultural experience.
3. Be open to being schooled
You are traveling to a new place, and even though you might have done all the necessary research and learned all the facts, there is still room for error. As you are only traveling as a visitor, there are chances of innocent mistakes where you might not be aware of how to tackle a situation or address a moment. However, no need to fret as all you need is to be open to learning from your mistake, so you don’t repeat.
4. Accept the diversity and differences
Obviously, similarity doesn’t mean it’s all the same. You will encounter many differences that you haven’t seen anywhere else. Instead of questioning these differences, your approach towards them should be of acceptance. You should accept that their cultural norm is different than yours, and that’s what supports their beliefs and daily lives.
‘To each his own’ is the mantra you should travel with, which greatly helps your mind to more readily accept cultural traditions.
5. Resist the urge to stereotype
Avoid coming from stereotypical beliefs like Turkish are conservative Muslims, French are unhygienic, or Italians are full of Mafia crime lords. The world has evolved, and people have changed and with stereotypes you run the risk of being offensive and making yourself look bad.
In addition to this, it’s also important to try and not use labels. As the world is evolving into a more diverse and inclusive place, it’s better to steer clear from stereotypes and specific labels.
6. Identify the sensitive points
Every culture has its sensitive points that are a complete no-no and shouldn’t be discussed or brought up at all. It’s essential to learn about them from the outset so that you not only respect them but also avoid uncomfortable situations.
7. Bridge the language gap
Language plays a vital part in travel and bringing people of different cultures together. For instance, if French is your second language and you travel to France, you would be able to grasp a lot of little things better than someone who is utterly aloof as to what is going on at a particular instance.
Therefore, it is better that before you plan an intercontinental trip, you enroll yourself into a basic language course or brush up your speaking skills online.
What phrases should I know where I am going?
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The Bottom Line
All in all, Europe is a beautiful continent rich in history, culture, people. If you have already been here, then we understand why you’d like to visit again. And if you haven’t yet been, you should definitely plan your next trip to Europe for a once in a lifetime experience!
Author Bio: Melissa Calvert is currently working as a Travel Blogger at Crowd Writer and Freelance Writer at Dissertation Assistance, an excellent platform to get report writing service. She is moving towards travel vlogging content to keep up with the current trends. To read more about her traveling experiences, check out her blogs.