You’re backpacking around the world (as you do) and you find yourself staying in a country for a while. What do you need to do? Get to grips with the local culture of course! It’s not always as easy as starting to enthusiastically support the all blacks, however, no matter how many fake tattoos you stick to your face.
So if you can’t just throw stickers on your face, what can you do to become part of the local community? Step 1, find the local watering hole. This will most likely be a pub. Once you find the local pub, you find the extrovert locals willing to give you a crash course on local happenings. Or alcohol. Find both and you’ve hit the jackpot.
Now that you’ve quenched your thirst, find the local eateries. Not only will you find cheaper, yummier food, you’ll get a layout of local traditions and customs much quicker than any tourist restaurant could provide. If applicable, it is also a brilliant place to showcase your chopstick skills. Don’t lie, you’ve definitely practised before hand.
Another question to ask yourself; is there a local sport/event/tradition/anything that you can go along to and try out? Not only will they love the effort, it is also the best way to meet people and became a part of the community, no matter how much time you are planning on spending there.
And finally, the most obvious way is to learn the language. Just by learning the basics, you instantly put people more at ease, and they are much more likely to put more effort into getting to know you if you show interest in getting to know their language and customs. Just try to pronounce it correctly, or you might become the laughing stock of the town quicker than you expected. The different pronunciations of ‘ma’ in Chinese Mandarin meaning ‘mum’ and ‘horse’ comes to mind. At least it gives people something to remember you by.
And if all else fails, tell them you support Manchester United. Those words apparently endear you to 70% of the worlds population, unless you live in England, in which case, never mention it (as clarification, i do not support Manchester United. My club allegiance shall forever remain a mystery).
See you tomorrow,