As a travel enthusiast, it was always a bit painful to return home after an extended period abroad. I was grateful to be home and closer to loved ones, but I always missed the excitement of being overseas.
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Sound familiar? In order to keep my energy high (and reverse culture shock low), I incorporated as much ‘global activity’ into my ‘local life’. Here is a list of things you can try:
- Attend cultural events.
- Join national/ethnic/expat groups. Try Meetup or search Facebook groups. Just search “(CITY NAME) expat” to meet other globally-minded people.
- Explore your own neighborhood, city and country. Don’t underestimate the beauty around you. If you don’t know what to see, contact your local tourism office to learn more about the gems that surround you.
- Find a conversation partner. You’re fluent in your native language and there are always others who want to learn it. Contact your local immigration center, university or community center to get connected with potential language partners.
- Want a daily dose of the world? Host an exchange student or scholar. For example, AFS arranges opportunities to host international high school students. If you live near a university, contact their international office to inquire about hosting opportunities.
- Our personal favorite, eat at ethnic restaurants…an no, Chipotle and Taco Bell don’t count! If your city doesn’t have any ethnic restaurants, contact a nearby university or big city to see if they host some type of international food festival. These are popular events on college campuses around the United States.
- Learn to cook foods from around the world. If you’re into cooking, this is the best thing for you. Look up recipes online and try them out. You’d be surprised how easy it can be to create a new, impressive and delicious dish!
- Learn a new language. This may seem obvious, but oftentimes we believe that it’s easier to learn languages while abroad. This may be true, but it doesn’t’ mean you should wait to learn until you are actually abroad. Contact your local language school, university or community center to find out what your options are.
- Attend lectures about global topics of interest. If you live in a big city or near a university, it should be easy to find free talks and lectures to attend. Just check their calendar of events and/or sign up for their newsletters. If you’re not close to either, then search online for documentaries and free, online lectures and podcasts.
- Teach English to immigrants in your community. What better way to learn about a culture and give back to your community than by teaching English to local immigrants. It can even deepen your connection to a specific culture or country.
- Try out national/ethnic traditions! Pouneh often searches the web for holiday traditions (and food!) and has found a few great ones she now incorporates into her annual celebrations.
- Sign up for periodic doses of travel inspiration! Whether it’s monthly sample boxes, travel magazines or travel blogs (like ours!), it’s always nice to get periodic doses of travel-related products, pictures and stories! TIP: If you’re into maps like we are, request free brochures and maps from tourism offices!
- Listen to international music. Again, it sounds obvious, but oftentimes we return from our travels and continue listening to our preset Pandora stations. Not sure where to begin, search the web for chart toppers for a country or continent.
- Create travel-inspired projects. Anyone ever heard of Pinterest? Yeah. Check them out and start creating travel-inspired projects today!
- Watch international films online or at an international film festival. TIP: You can find them on Youtube or Netflix. We suggest looking up award winning/nominated foreign films to start.
These are just some of the ways we’ve incorporated the world into our daily lives.
What are some other ways to have a global life at home?