There are so many great ways to celebrate diversity! Understanding various cultures is the key to dispelling hateful rumors about people. Culture defines a broad range of subjects including cuisine, sports, dress code, etiquette, and holidays to name a few. We can only gain wisdom and grow as a person when we take the time to learn about cultures and all sorts of people from around the world. Here are ten ways to celebrate diversity.
1. Host a Rotary Student
One of the best ways to celebrate diversity is to host someone from a different country. Rotary International has been allowing teenagers to live abroad since the 1920s. Teenagers from around the world spend a year living in a foreign country with two to four host families. Some of the Rotary students come to spend their year here in the United States. Rotary International is always looking for people to host a teenager from Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Italy, Finland, Switzerland, Brazil and several other countries. It takes a year to be considered eligible to be a host parent.
There are meetings, background checks, paperwork, and surprise visits to your home and workplace by Rotarians to ensure the safety of the adolescent. Rotary students are extremely carefully picked out. It is strongly recommended that you limit their internet time so they get the full experience of American culture, and have them join a high school sports team or the Boys and Girls Club, as two examples. In return, you will be providing room and food for the student who will teach you much about their language, country, and customs. If you speak Spanish, for example, you can request a Spanish speaking Rotary student from Mexico, Chile, Peru, Spain or any other Spanish speaking nation.
2. Try New Places when You Eat out
You don’t know until you try it. It’s important to be mindful of your allergies. Asian restaurants tend to use MSG and oyster sauce in their amazing recipes. Regardless of where you dine, call ahead and tell them about any allergies you have. Go out and explore new places to eat. Try a new cuisine each time you go out for the next few months. Greek one afternoon, Polish one evening, Kenyan food the next, and even try making something at home, such as a Chinese breakfast which consists of salty steamed buns stuffed with pork, eggs, eggplant and vegetables (or skip the pork if you’re vegetarian or it’s against your faith).
3. Diversify the Lunch Table
There’s something wrong when lunch tables at school or work are racially segregated by choice, and we see this much too often. People should get to know each other through common interests and similarities, such as working in the same place, and race should not come into consideration. Yet, still, this type of segregation occurs. Diversifying your workplace or university lunch table will lead to new friendships and a better understanding that, while we may look physically different, we all want the same things: a steady job, happiness, love, and good health.
4. Learn a New Language
Learning a new language is not anywhere near as hard as you think. First, learn the writing system if it’s a different alphabet than English. Next, learn how to pronounce the letters and the words. After this, learn about five hundred nouns and categorize them by subjects, such as animals, clothing, and places. Be sure to remember their gender if they are masculine or feminine words, such as in Italian. Next, learn the twenty most popular used verbs such as to go, to be, to have, and to sleep. verbix.com is a great resource for verbs. After this learn adjectives and where to place them in the sentence.
It also helps to watch lots of movies in the language you’re trying to learn. Want to know the best way to master another language? Immersion. Many new immigrants and second-generation Americans are bilingual or multilingual. Introduce yourself to Spanish speakers or Russian speakers or Thai speakers. You have this wonderful opportunity to make a new friend and learn another language. Learning more than one language can help stave off Alzheimer's, gives you an in-depth view of how other cultures view the world and allows you to talk to millions of people
5. Have Friends with Disabilities
When we think diversity we often think of racial diversity, but there are many forms of diversity, including differently abled people. There is still this sad stigma around people with seizures, Down Syndrome, Sotos Syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities that leave these kind people ostracized and bullied. Everyone has their talents and challenges, whether they are marked with a disability or not. People with disabilities can teach nondisabled people a lot of virtues, like patience, compassion, and understanding.
6. Go Abroad
Traveling is the world’s best teacher. When I say go abroad, I don’t just mean a week’s trip to the major tourist hot spots in Dublin. To really understand a country and its people, visit the small towns as well, and stay in a bed and breakfast whenever possible. This is how you really get to know the people.
7. Watch and Read Globe Trekker or Rick Steves’ Europe
If you’re the adventurous type,n Globe Trekker are the videos you want to pick up at your local library. Globe Trekker show countries from around the world. If you’re into high class or relaxing museums, art, restaurants, famous religious sites, and much more than I recommend Rick Steves’ Europe that gives an incredibly in-depth view in just twenty minutes of a particular city, region of a country, or a country.
Rick Steves had made over ten million dollars from his videos and books and is known as the best travel guide in the world on European countries. He also has books and videos on Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Morocco, and Iran. Rick Steves Europe can be watched on Youtube, PBS, or borrowed from your local library. Some of us can’t afford to travel, so learning about another country, or a foreign city, through books and film is another great way to immerse yourself.
8. See a Play or Opera
You wouldn’t think about going to see a play when you think of expanding your horizons, but it’s actually a great place to sit down in the plush seating and wait for the curtain of better understanding to rise. Seeing a play or an opera from a different ethnic group or country is a way for people of a different background than yours to show how they express themselves. See a popular well known opera, such as Carmen, and then see a Chinese opera to compare and contrast western and eastern operas.
Attend a play put on by an African American theatre company if you are not African American yourself. Attend an Irish drama or Irish comedy, such as the Irish Classical Theatre of Buffalo, New York if you are not Irish, to learn about Irish troubles and the Irish sense of humor.
Read about other countries, faiths, minority ethnic groups, but also read about different disabilities to understand them better. Read novels by authors from all over the world. Gabriel Garcia Marquez was one of the best authors in the world. From Colombia, his books have been translated into English and give great insight on Colombian politics, romance, art, troubles, fashion, people and more, and are books you seriously have trouble putting down until they’re finished.
10. Make Online Global Friends
There’s way too much fighting on the internet. Avoid the urge to bicker about politics or whatnot online and get to know someone. Even though, for example, Australians speak English like us (albeit somewhat differently) Aussies are still from a different culture. Just remember, if you plan to meet someone online, always be sure you have proof they are who they say they are, tell someone who lives near you of your plans, take your cell phone with you, take a friend with you if possible, and meet in a busy area.