I was on my way to work, as every other Thursday morning. I’m normally lucky enough to get a seat from my station but not that day. But it’s ok because I woke up in a good mood and full of energy so standing up didn’t bother me. The one problem I had was my absence of Metro newspaper. It’s my drug in the metro, I need it every morning. So my metro ride was a little long and boring. There is only so much to think about when you’re still not fully functional, and so I stared. I stared at the people in the metro that morning: young, old, short, tall, white, black, skinny and fat. There were Canadians, Indians, Haitians among many more nationalities. And realized that I am very lucky to live in such a cosmopolitan city, a city filled with such diversity.
Most travelers, I believe, seek diversity. Why would one travel to India? Or Colombia? Or to any other city in the world? We travel to learn about a new culture. To eat their food. To dance to their music. To learn their language. It’s because somewhere inside of us, we are curious and of course, embrace diversity. Living in Italy and Mexico were fabulous experiences. But there was one aspect of both experiences that made me miss home. The food. The lack of culture diversity. In Italy, you’re guaranteed to find delicious Italian restaurants. But if you’re craving Mexican food, good luck finding it. I had the same issue in Mexico. Although Mexican food is delicious and couldn’t get enough of it, it was difficult to find a restaurant offering a different cuisine.
Often times, I drown in my routine while waiting for my next travel adventure to arrive. Luckily, I live in a cosmopolitan city that allows me to travel across cultures without hopping on a plane.
I know not everyone lives in a city that organizes a million festivals per year (I’m lucky enough to live in a vibrant city that does) but nevertheless, browse through your local newspaper for festivals planned in your city. I’m sure you’ll be able to find at least one.
You’ll always find international performers touring so here is another opportunity to discover something new. Gotan Project for example, is a group from Paris who (kind of) revolutionized tango. They were recently in Montreal for their world tour. Check out your local listings to see who’s coming to town!
As someone who loves to eat, this is my favorite group! Anyone who lives in a cosmopolitan city, you can find a variety of restaurants that will make you travel without moving from your seat. If you’re not as lucky, print out recipes and cook international dishes! Attempt to make Mexican chile rellenos, Hungarian goulash at home or Brazilian moqueca.
Meeting New Friends
The best way to discover a new culture is by having friends from different backgrounds. How can one meet international people when at home?
- At work or school: Mingle with co-workers who are not in your circle of friends. You’ll get to talk to other people and learn what they’re all about.
- Sign-up for an activity or sport: Do what you like, you may meet someone with the same interest as you.
- Join an online community: Did you consider learning a new language? Conversation Exchange allows people to meet friends online to exchange and learn a new language. If you’re interested in meeting people from a specific country, try looking into country-specific types of groups.