Engage in Cultural Immersion!
Experience unique customs & traditions, authentic artisans, majestic historical monuments & our shared human condition
Are you eager to have an authentic cultural experience in your next destination...but aren't sure how to?
Keen to understand how people in other parts of the world live...but don't know how to go about meeting locals?
BCD can help! We love to share ideas on how to travel with locals and experience cultural immersion around the world. From tours with locals to chance encounters off the beaten path, we believe that connecting with locals culturally enriches both us as travelers and the locals we meet.
Delve into these articles, which offer ideas on how to connect with locals when you travel, and ways to create authentic and transformative experiences! These in-depth stories explore cultural immersion options ranging from home exchanging to spending a day with a International Greeter, to volunteering abroad or participating in a fellowship program. Hear from fellow travelers on the ins-and-outs of different modes of cultural immersion and immersive travel!
Experiential Travel Starts with Curiosity: Be There Now!
Are forging local connections important to you when you travel? Here are some ideas from people around the world on how to have an authentic cultural immersion and meet local people in the destination you are visiting. According to Travel Weekly, “In 2019, ‘Living like a local’ will go up a notch with holiday makers getting so under the skin of a destination, they consider themselves honorary citizens. Fueled by the rise in sustainable tourism and growing awareness to put tourist dollars to good use by supporting local communities, travelers in 2019 will seek out more local experiences than ever before.”
Are you a traveler who is keen to experience a destination through locals’ eyes? To get under the skin of a culture and celebrate its uniqueness, as well as feel part of our universal shared human condition? And get free lodging in the process? Then a long term house swap might be right up your alley! While cost-saving may have motivated many to try home exchanging, this this mode of travel, it has become an effective grass roots form of cultural diplomacy.
Pinhole photographer Liz Doles lived in Sri Lanka for a year as a Fulbright Fellow, as part of the Fulbright Exchange Program. The Fulbright Program of the US State Department is an international exchange program. Today the program works with partner nations from around the globe in mutual exchange and understanding, Liz shares the Sri Lanka that revealed itself to her over the course of her year-long residency there.
Are you a traveler who likes to connect with local people? The Global Greeter Network (GGN) is a network of hundreds of volunteers around the world who show visitors their city for free, showing their local version of their hometowns to visitors and travellers and allowing them to explore in a different way.
Learning about Chiapas culture in Mexico's San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Patricia Ferrer worked with "big man" Sergio Castro, known by locals as “heroe de Chiapas.” Don Sergio is a humanitarian, an ethnologist, a collector of Maya costumes, textile and artifacts, museum curator and a polyglot.
Joe Pine is a noted international business thought leader who pioneered the idea of the "Experience Economy" in the late 1990s with the best-selling book The Experience Economy: Work is a Theatre & Every Business a Stage." That breakthrough book demonstrates
What better brand of traveler to offer perspective on cultural immersion than a seasoned professional travel guide book author? Christine Barrelly of France’s Occitanie region has written more than twenty travel books published by Hachette Livres and Michelin Guides, among others. Countries she has written about include her native France as well as Argentina, Croatia, England, Greece, Ireland, Spain and different parts of the U.S.A In this lively Q & A, Christine shares insights & her philosophy which combines research & planning with curiosity & flexibility. Get actionable tips from a pro on how to have an authentic travel experience!
Sue Coppard is founder of WWOOF, a worldwide network that links volunteers with organic farms. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer volunteers food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. WWOOF was borne out of Sue's desire to periodically escape her life as a London secretary and spend time in the countryside. Today WWOOF is a global movement, with over 50,000 volunteers helping out on 7,000-plus host farms in more than 100 countries.