Traveling to Palestine with Cultural Sensitivity: When traveling around the world, wherever your travels may take you, one trait that is perhaps the most important trait to develop is cultural sensitivity. One reason cultural sensitivity and awareness is so significant is because it demonstrates respect and appreciation to your host culture. As you prepare to travel abroad, we want to provide you with some tips for remaining culturally aware. Just as you would hope for others to be sensitive to your own culture, it is important for all traveler to travel with open eyes, open ears, and an open mind. So, without further ado, let’s begin discussing the tips to developing this trait while traveling.
You may be wondering, what exactly is cultural sensitivity? In essence, cultural sensitivity is going through everyday life with mindfulness of the cultural differences between you and the people around you. The first thing to know is that embodying cultural sensitivity does not mean that you need to know everything about the culture you are stepping into. Sensitivity begins with a desire to learn and to understand. This is done by taking off the glasses of your worldview for a period of time so you can look through your host culture’s eyes. All of which is much easier said than done.
It is often through encountering another culture that we start to see more of the ways our own culture has shaped and influenced us. As you remain a student of your host culture it is important to begin by not drawing unwanted attention to yourself. Depending on where you travel, you may naturally attract attention. Foreigners can be easy to spot out, but we advise not dressing or speaking in a manner that draws even more attention to yourself. Being mindful of the dress code is very significant in remaining culturally sensitive. Also, in some cultures being too loud in public places can be viewed as disrespectful. Do your homework and learn the etiquette for carrying yourself in public, greeting men and women, and dressing in your host culture. This will help you leaps and bounds when you arrive in your host country.
As always, ask questions whenever you have them. If you do not know the etiquette when it comes to, say, local table manners, then ask the locals. People will be happy to explain to you how things are done if you are confused. Staying culturally sensitive typically involves being conscious of the way you dress, the way you behave in public, and the local etiquette for eating and greeting others. The more you travel and encounter cultures different than your own, the more you will learn. Traveling can be a very educational and rewarding experience and we hope that with these tips you will be on your way to becoming a culturally sensitive traveler.