We live in a globalized world that is becoming more multicultural any second. It is not rare to meet people from many other countries when you are traveling. But now it is becoming even less rare to study together with other nation’s guys or work together with them after college, live in the same neighborhood and so on.
However, this does not always mean that we are aware of all cultures and their differences from ours. Also, if we are native to a certain place, when we travel abroad we may find it difficult to describe the peculiarities of our culture, as we have never thought of them. Teachers like to assign essays or presentations that can make you dig deep into your heritage and analyze your country’s culture. How to deal with such tasks?
When You Need It
You may think that you will never need to write such an essay or describe your culture to others, as they may be aware of it. However, you should always be prepared, and here is why.
A lot of students participate in study programs in foreign countries. Whether it is a two-year exchange program to France or a three-week language study camp in Japan, whenever you leave your country you are automatically becoming a foreigner, and thus a bearer of another country’s heritage. Even if you think there is nothing interesting in being a native of your country, people will be interested in your country’s situation, climate, cuisine, clothes and so on.
Presenting Your Country
Whether we like it or not, when we are in a multicultural environment, our behavior will be examined through the prism of our nationality. Sadly, if someone is rude, impolite, loud, aggressive and so on, people will automatically and subjectively project their behavior on all people of this person’s home country. So, it is our duty to be even more polite and friendly than usual when we are abroad.
When you write an essay about your country’s peculiarities, you will find out some new details. Also, it is not necessarily true that all people automatically know the history and culture of their country. If you have never attended any social gatherings, the details of them may be obscure to you, but you are still supposed to know the ins and outs of it all.
What to Focus On
Here are some things you can focus on in your essay or presentation. You should be able to explain and talk about them with anyone given the chance.
You may not need to do some extra research for these, but you should first present your country’s location, main cities, climate, flag, some basic facts about it. You may think that it is redundant and everyone knows these things about your country. However, you cannot name all basic facts about all countries of the world, so you should be respectful and assume that everyone needs to refresh their memories a little.
Food is something that can interest most people immediately. If you are able to bring some treats during a presentation it will be a striking success. Talk about the main dishes and add some fun facts about them. If you are Italian and you think that everyone knows about your country’s famous pasta and pizza, focus on some regional techniques of cooking them or analyze why are they so popular in Italy.
If you are from some Muslim countries, you can explain the different usages and meanings of wearing hijabs, burkas and other items of clothes. You can also focus on traditional clothes and their meanings, show some pictures or describe them in vivid detail in your essay.
Festivities, rituals such as weddings, funerals and so on differ from nation to nation. Everyone would be fascinated to find out more about the traditional Japanese weddings or how Americans really celebrate Thanksgiving. If you are not sure what to write about, you can ask your grandmother what were her favorite holidays when she was young, and compare them to the situation nowadays.
Even though your country’s history can be fascinating to you, to some the accumulation of facts, dates and figures can seem boring. That is why it is better to finish your essay with some facts that can leave an impression and be remembered afterwards. For example, if you are German you can say that Berlin boasts 960 bridges and this number is bigger than that in Venice. Here are some other ways to make your presentation fun.
Remember that some terms that seem understandable to you, may need certain explanation for non-natives. You can even make a small dictionary leaflet to give out during your presentation, or explain the terms in a separate paragraph of your essay.