5 Ways to Have an International Experience without Leaving Home

I would be willing to bet that if you check out many “Bucket Lists”… something relating to “Traveling the World” would be easily found (and most likely at the top of the list!).

OOOOh the dream of travel… of packing a bag and jetting off to distant lands to hear foreign languages, smell delicious aromas wafting out of local restaurant doors, and marvel at the beauty of breathtaking landscapes and brilliant architecture. Sounds perfect – right!?

But what do you do when jumping on a plan just isn’t an option??

Here are 5 ways you can still have that worldly experience without leaving home!

1. Host someone – If you have a spare room (or couch) in your house or apartment, hosting someone from a foreign land is an excellent way to learn more about the world! I recommend workaway.info (if you want to host someone for 1 week or more) OR couchsurfing.com (for 1 night or up to a week). The difference between the two:

  • Workaway.info – The person you host will “work” for you in exchange for a room and food. The terms can be set in your profile. There is a fee ($30 for 2 years access) which allows you to e-mail and connect with volunteers from all over the world! The “jobs” range from teaching a language to working on a farm. You can have someone help you with your garden, renovate your house, take care of your children etc…  — Just browsing the site can be super exciting!
  • Couchsurfing.com – A free website where you create a profile and people can e-mail you if they are looking for a place to stay. It is usually travelers just “passing through” or staying in town for a few nights. You simply provide them a couch. Sometimes people just use it for a place to stay… but the site does promote cultural exchange. There are also local meetups you can check out (typically around larger cities or towns) and you can meet people that way. I met some great people when I was in Tenerife at the Couchsurfing meetup!
With my Workaway host in Madrid - I spent 5 weeks helping her improve her English

With my Workaway host in Madrid – I spent 5 weeks helping her improve her English

 

2. Cook a meal (or order) – Part of discovering a new place is indulging in the food and drinks… which sometimes can be drastically different from what you are used to! Do a quick google search to find a unique recipe and cook something you have never tried before. If you aren’t very skilled in the kitchen find a local dining establishment and ask the person taking your order what they would recommend (I do this when I’m in a foreign country and can’t read the menu haha!).

The translation is "Tit Cheese" --- it's actually quite tasty but did they REALLY need to shape it like that? haha

The translation is “Tit Cheese” — it’s actually quite tasty but did they REALLY need to shape it like that? haha

 

3. Watch a Film – Even though subtitles wreck my head sometimes… watching a foreign film is still quite an enjoyable experience! One night while I was at the hostel in Faro we had “Foreign Film Night” and watched a film to represent each of the countries the workers were from. We watched a Brazilian film (that was super violent but really attention grabbing), a German film, and a Hungarian film. It’s interesting to hear other languages and pick up on some of the customs by watching a movie. Perhaps combine in with some wine or drink from that country and BAM – perfect date night 🙂

 

4. Listen to Music – Between Spotify and Youtube you can listen to any music that is out there in the world! Better yet… check to see if there are any special musical events in your city and go check ’em out!

The video below is a song from an artist that performed at the Reggaefest at the hostel I was volunteering at in Tenerife (Canary Islands)-

 

5. Learn a Foreign Language – Just go for it… I’m still attempting to learn Spanish and find it incredibly difficult even though I’ve lived in Spain for nearly 4 months. Find someone to practice with or a class to attend – it may make your brain hurt a bit but even knowing a few phrases can be useful!

Wine tasting and trying my best to understand the conversation in Tenerife! (hablo un poco de espanol)

Wine tasting and trying my best to understand the conversation in Tenerife! (hablo un poco de espanol)

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