This might help if you want to…
- embrace cultural differences
- learn ways of understanding cultural difference
- learn ways of talking to people from different backgrounds
With such a diversity of different people with different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs in Australia, it can be really helpful to understand a different culture from your own.
It can be very easy to just stick with what you know and not try to meet people who are different to you. However, trying to understand cultural differences can open you up to a whole lot of new and exciting experiences.
Ways of understanding cultural difference
Me, myself and I - Become self-aware by working out your own beliefs, values, and personal biases. In doing this you are able to think about how these personal traits might impact on your approach to understanding cultural difference.
Read up- Learning about different cultures can be a great way of developing an understanding of cultural diversity. Engage in a bit of research either online or through books and study some of the history and traditions of other cultures.
Talk about it – If you know someone who comes from a different cultural background to you, try and get to know them a bit better. You don’t necessarily have to ask them directly about their culture, but by getting to know them you’ll automatically find out more about their life and experiences.
Travel – One of the best ways to experience and understand cultural difference is to actually live it. Planning a trip overseas to a country you’re interested in learning more about can be the best way of opening yourself up to new cultures.
Acceptance - Sometimes it’s not that easy to gain an understanding of cultural difference for whatever reason. In these situations the best approach is just to accept that some people are different and that’s ok.
An important thing to remember
Even if you hear or read something about a certain culture, it’s important to realise that doesn’t mean everyone from that particular background acts/thinks/believes the same thing. Just as not everyone you know has identical beliefs; people who come from different cultural backgrounds aren’t all a certain way either.
One of the biggest difficulties to overcome in understanding cultural differences is making judgements based on one opinion. Do your own research and make an effort to actually learn about people instead of making broad brush statements.
The main thing to remember is that everyone, no matter what their cultural background, has different opinions, habits and ways of life. The quicker we accept that everyone is different, the easier it becomes to understand and embrace cultural differences.