No matter how long you stay abroad, it’s the people you meet and the conversations you have that stick with you the most. There are certain topics that can be conversation-sparkers and that give you insight into underlying or fundamental differences between cultures. These are my three personal favorite conversation starters to help you make the best out of your experience abroad.
It’s true I am a Foodie. I love food! But far form personal preference; food is part of our culture. You never become so quickly immersed in another person’s culture as when you’re exchanging secret recipes for traditional dishes. Take it a step further and invite someone over for a traditional dish party. There is nothing that gets people talking about their life and values at home than talking about a favourite childhood meal. These moments will be some of the most inspiring you will get to experience in your lifetime.
Who could ever be a better tour guide as someone who calls the country you are visiting his or her home? Most people love sharing local secrets with someone who is genuinely interested in exploring their country and culture. Be it a favorite restaurant (I told you I’m a foodie), their favorite park, beach, grocery store, building, quarter and so on. The list is endless and endless are the possibilities for new discoveries within a foreign country.
3. Anything really
You are in a new environment and most possibly experiencing moments that will be at the center of the stories you will tell old friends AND new acquaintances at home and across the world. Going abroad is a formative thing in itself, but it can be enhanced by the conversations you will have. We reflect and learn things about ourselves through communication. Engaging in discussions with people from different cultural and personal backgrounds gives you something you cannot get anywhere else. These conversations are facilitators for personal development and can make you a stronger, more self-aware and open-minded person.
The best is that these are the experiences that no one will be able to take from you. So if life offers you the opportunity to go abroad – take it! And make sure you are in 100% and conversing with as many people as possible!
Author: Chelsea Hladik