Do you have to leave your culture before you can really see it?

I hate sounding like those travelers who always keep telling everyone how much you learn from traveling but I must admit that there is something there.

Recently I exchanged thoughts on this with another planner through email. To travel and experience other cultures, or much rather live for a longer time in a different culture, makes it easier for you to see what your culture is really about. I guess it is the change of perspective and contrast that does it.

When I live in and learn new cultures I usually start comparing the cultures I know to each other. To know more cultures therefore makes it easier to understand new ones because you can put them in perspective. It is easier to position something when you have something to position it against.

My friend actually went as far as saying that living and experience other cultures than your own makes you not even a better planner but also more intelligent. I haven’t gone as far as seeing my pervious experiences as this significant before but when thinking about it I can definitely see how it can help me in my work. By having a palette of cultures to go to as references I can see cultural expressions when placed alongside the same situation in another culture.

I rarely save up money to travel but have managed to live in both Canada, USA, England, France, China and now Argentina by going there to work or study. When you “travel” that way you naturally end up spending more time in a place and get to know the people who live there to greater extent than if you are just visiting.

But it takes time to really get into a culture. After 2,5 month in Argentina I finally master the language which opens up more doors. I’m still curious to see where this experience will lead.

At the time I’m not only learning about the world of advertising doing my internship at Castro Innovation here, I’m also broadening my knowledge in culture. Sometimes it is hard to explain for future employees what you have learned form previous experiences but now I think I’m a little bit more capable of doing that. Thank you!

Additional small note:
I think posts like this that spans both personal development and strategy explains why I find it relevant to share my personal development process in this blog. To be a planner you need to understand your target audience, but to do that you need to understand yourself and the world too. I hope you enjoy the reading, I definitely enjoy the ride. For another excellent blog about personal development, please visit my friend Mayka, Swedish DJ and artist. Her brother went to the same school as me, Hyper Island, so some of her influences might come from that direction. But I keep getting surprised how often we think about the same things. Thank you for the inspiration!