Rather than being self-conscious about your differences, understand that they are there and move beyond them. Be open to new cultures, new practices, and the idea of looking at yourself as an outsider. You’re not expected to change who you are just so you can fit in, but it is absolutely necessary to be respectful of people who see things differently than you do – even if the “thing” is yourself. By acknowledging the cultural gaps and embracing the bridges between them, you’ll get much further than by trying to change who you are or what your culture is.
– Margaret, London
It’s really easy, while abroad, to isolate a particular cultural difference (say, eating fufu with your hands), for example, and start comparing it to the way “we do it at home.” It’s important to stop, recognize that it’s the way things are done here, and accept that it’s a characteristic that makes the country and its people unique and beautiful and will add depth to your experience.
– Suhaly, Ghana & Florence