Ways to Engage with Local Cultures All Over the World!
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! 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 Global 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!
Experiential Travel Starts with Curiosity! Be There Now!
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. The Fulbright Program of the US State Department is an international exchange program, first established in 1946 based on a proposed bill from Arkansas Senator J.William Fulbright for “the promotion of international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.” 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? Do you want to feel like you are experiencing the "real" character of the destinations you visit? If that's your cup of tea, then you need to know about the Global Greeter Network (GGN)! GGN is a network of hundreds of volunteers around the world who show visitors their city for free. GGN now operates in more than 200 cities and traces its roots to the founding of Big Apple Greeter in 1992 by Lynn Brooks.
Guest writer Patricia Ferrer shares her voluntourism experiences in Mexico's San Cristóbal de Las Casas, working 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. Patricia takes us on his life journey, diving into the history and culture of many of the villages in which he has positively impacted.
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.