I talk a lot about exposing your kids to other cultures, seeing the world and how great it is to expand your mind. I do believe all these things, however, I realize it isn’t possible for everyone to simply head overseas for a nice history lesson. If my husband wasn’t playing basketball overseas, we wouldn’t travel there either.
But I believe it is possible to experience other cultures without overseas travel. So I’ve come up with a few ways to do so without even leaving your home city.
How to travel without leaving your City
If you haven’t heard of this program, it’s a pretty awesome one. It’s a subscription service that your kids can follow the characters, named Sam and Sofia, around the US or the world (depending on what edition you get). Each one comes with educational activities and you child gets to “explore” the world via Sam and Sofia. It’s so fun to see your kids run to the mail box each month to learn a little more about our world. And hopefully open their eyes to the world that awaits!
Being American we have so many cultures right at our doorsteps! And it could be a sensitive subject, but if you have friends that are willing, ask them to teach your family a little about their culture. If you are the family who is from or has relatives from another country, be willing to share! I think it’s how we learn to be more loving and accepting of other cultures around us.
When I was getting ready to come back to America this year I started researching French groups. Turns out there is one called Alliance Francais and they are all over the world, not to mention that there’s one close to me! This particular group is for every level of French, francophones or people who are just interested in the language and culture. Simply put, you never know what’s in your backyard. Pick a culture or language you’d like to check out and see if there’s anything in your area. Bring your kids along and experience a little bit of another place!
Do your Research
Now, it is great to use all the other resources I mentioned, but I think the most fun way to ‘travel’ without leaving is to bring it to you! Pick maybe one culture or country a month. Research outfits, food, cultural activities and try to integrate them into your life. Do what works for your family, a few here and there or maybe one big night full of activities from that culture. This will start to open your kids eyes to other places and how they do things, hopefully making it a fun and positive experience.
Holidays are a perfect time to learn more about other countries. Ask friends who celebrate differently than you do, spend time online, make sure to respect the specific traditions and see what you can do about incorporating a little bit of new culture in to your home.
This kind of goes along with ‘do your research’ but the idea is to pick a monument that you want to study. Take the Eiffel Tower for instance. There is obviously no shortage of where you can find pictures of it. A quick Google search will provide you the information on how it was built, as well as its history. Have an “Eiffel Tower Night” and learn all you can about this cool monument as well as much about France. Next month, you can choose another monument and so on! Imagine how much we could learn!
While this type of cultural learning is not exactly the same as seeing experiencing it first-hand, it can give your family an opportunity to bond, to create memories and to make a list of the places you would like to see together. I live in France most of the time and still can’t find time and opportunity to see all the places I want to see! But with a little conscience effort, we can explore more of the world in the comfort of our own city and even home!
I hope you’re inspired to ‘travel’ some more! Tell me, how do you and your family explore the world?