Why You Should Experience Other Cultures

Why You Should Experience Other Cultures

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It's not easy to step out of your comfort zone; in fact it's pretty scary. At the same time, you'll experience and learn amazing things; both about yourself and the world around you. Experiencing a new culture is like stepping into a whole new world; you're exposed to different languages, smells, colors, sights, sounds, and people. Taking the time to travel to a different part of the world and a new culture will completely change your life. It'll be an exciting and thrilling experience that you will never forget!

Here are some reasons why you should experience other cultures at least once in your life:

Broaden your perspective of the world

It's a big world out there; people live and behave differently. When you live in another country, you can open your eyes to the beliefs and values other people and its influence on their everyday life. You will discover new social norms and lifestyles. It will not only change your perspective, but it will re-shape your personality as well. Some countries have no electricity, plumbing, or internet. Kids don't have Xbox or Wii to pass the time; they use their imagination to create toys from whatever they can find. They live their everyday life with perseverance. It's a humbling and character-building experience, and one that teaches you to appreciate what you have and also to respect those who live without them every day.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things."
Henry Miller

Learn a new language

Who doesn't want to have a second language under their belt? Learning a second language will give you the ability to step inside the mind of the culture and see things from a whole new perspective. It'll also give you an advantage and a competitive edge in the work field. The world is becoming more and more interconnected so there is an urgent need for global citizens competent in a second language. So learning or knowing a second language is becoming less of an option and more of a necessity. Experiencing a new culture will force you to quickly learn and adopt the new language. There is only so much that you can learn by sitting in a classroom or from texts. It's a whole different experience when you immerse yourself in the culture and hear the language spoken in its cultural context; you will pick it up much faster since you will be surrounded by it constantly. Overall, learning a new language will open many doors and you'll have a much deeper understanding of the world.

"A different language is a different vision of life." Federico Fellini

Learn new skills

Traveling to a different country and experiencing a new culture teaches you a variety of new skills. You learn to become more social, flexible, open minded, and independent. Exposure to multicultures or diversity will lead to better judgment; you will meet people of different religions, color, race, educational background and many other things. You will also learn fun skills such as cooking among others. It will greatly enhance your development as a person.

Expand your circle of friends all around the world

The most fun part (besides the amazing food and shopping!) of traveling is meeting new people and making new friends. You meet people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences. You will learn valuable lessons and stories from each person you meet that will make the trip even more memorable. You'll gain insights into their way of life and their beliefs. Not only will you gain tons of knowledge, but your personality will also develop. You'll come to see and appreciate your own culture from a different perspective. You can even keep in touch with them when you come back home and continue to experience and share from across the world. It's truly a liberating and life changing experience.

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page."
St. Augustine

Enhance creativity

In case you needed a scientific reason for traveling, according to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, individuals who experience or adopt new cultures have enhanced creativity than individuals who hadn't experienced a new culture. Recalling a multicultural experience (a) facilitates idea flexibility (e.g., the ability to solve problems in multiple ways), (b) increases awareness of underlying connections and associations, and (c) helps to overcome functional fixedness. Either way, it's a win-win situation!

Trying new food, learning new traditions or cultures, and meeting new people with different perspectives and stories will enrich your life greatly and add amazing experiences that you will remember even in old age, whether it's walking through the rice fields of China, taking a trip to the Amazon Basin in Brazil, or walking through the vibrant streets of Tokyo in Japan. So if you haven't done so yet, step out of your comfort zone and travel to experience a whole new world!

"You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself."
Ella Maillart
Cover Image Credit: https://1huntech.files.wordpress.com/2014/06/dollarphotoclub_65482539.jpg

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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How Art Can Help You Take Care Of Yourself

It's time to go on a date with yourself.

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Art is a quintessential part of the human experience: it has something that has been present in human culture beginning from prehistoric times, from when human consciousness first entered the world. It is also something that transcends definition and intertwines with our play of life and the meaning of humanity. Art is an expression of feeling in its most ethereal meaning and "for fun" at its most basic.

Personally, as an Art History minor, art has been a dimension of life for me that I have explored deeply and holds a lot of meaning. Painting is a huge outlet and way to deal with stress for me, and appreciating fine art teaches me about the aspect of history and how all of history is tied together throughout paintings, sculptures, and photographs. It helps me center myself and remind me of the place I hold in this world and the curious aspect personal experience of history. However, art doesn't need to be the stereotypical idea of art: it can be expressed through dance, the learning of a new language, or the coloring of mandalas to ease stress.

The exploration of art and the artistic side of human nature is something that everyone has in them: it's written in our psychology. We have an entire side of our brain that is inclined toward feeling and abstract interpretation, so it's natural to assume that emotion and expression of art are intrinsically intertwined. Thus, experiencing art is a way to personally develop yourself, and can be an unfound way of finding out things about yourself.

Different ways to explore your artistic side can be very easy: as easy as 3rd-grade coloring books, coloring mandalas, or finger-painting. Recently, I participated in a lantern festival and being able to paint a small lantern was an amazing outlet from a stress-filled week and allowed me to express myself through something besides just communication. Writing is also another good way to express emotion and create art: many books are just art pieces, and can be another way to further develop yourself. Additionally, other small fun things like carving pumpkins (spooky season!) or even curating the perfect Instagram profile can be another way to express yourself.

Appreciating the small things in your life as art and self-expression help put you more in touch with yourself, which is easy to lose throughout the mundane cycles of college, work, and life in general. Keeping yourself in harmony and balance might seem like an earthy-crunchy concept, but self-care and self-love are vital in keeping the rest of your life ordered. Being mindful of yourself and your goals is something that I have always have had difficulty with, but working toward learning more about yourself is taking the first step.

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