General Question

bean's avatar

Have you been overseas and experienced something amazing in a different culture?

Asked by bean (1327points) February 5th, 2010

mmm…. my question sounds a little off to me to, but What I’m asking is in what culture did you learn something amazing and what experience did you go through while you were overseas,
What do you recommend is the most amazing experience you had?

When I’m older I want to travel and I want to explore and experience as much as I can. What are the most interesting and ‘must do’ events that you encountered?

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22 Answers

susanc's avatar

Bargaining. We don’t do it. Other people do. The rules are set by tradition wherever you go, and you have to discover them.
For example, in Bali the first sale of the morning is at a lower price, because the
seller gets heavenly credit for his kindness. This “morning price” is something to request.
Requesting it shows that you respect the rules. Everyone smiles.
Also in Bali, if you look at something that’s for sale, you’re obliged to buy it. You can’t just
stand there jawing away with the salesperson (especially a street hawker). He has business to conduct. A sidelong glance at his wares is all you get – no examination. Examination = relationship, relationship = commitment, commitment = you are no friend of mine if you walk away after examination. And I might yell at you.
Also in Bali (memories flooding here), once you look a street hawker in the eye, you have entered into a relationship. You cannot now say “no thanks”, no matter how courteously, without giving offence. Just hum and little song and look at the sky.

bean's avatar

@susanc haha, bargaining is awesome especially in china XD

I’m wondering if any one has done something really crazy, I mentioned it in another question I said I would love to be able to say something one day like -
‘I went to the far reaches of Peru and sat with monks who taught me how to prepare ancient remedies’
or even something like
‘I went into the deep jungle of Africa and met natives and watched a voodoo ritual”

How amazing would it be to have experience like that….. though, I might just be dreaming haha

susanc's avatar

Why dreaming?
Have you bargained in China? Cool.

Forty years ago, in Spain, we had a long visit with a priest who showed us the wardrobe of the Madonna statue in his church. It was extensive!! This was a small mountain village, far from everything, people were still traveling by mule. But the women loved this Madonna a LOT and she had beautiful dresses, changed every week, and even beautiful underwear, all hand-embroidered. She also had nice wigs made out the of the hair of the village women. How’s that?

St.George's avatar

The daily buying of fresh groceries and bread in France. That, and not being able to find a to-go cup. They just don’t make ‘em, or need them.

bean's avatar

@susanc that’s very very interesting, Spain would be beautiful to go to.
haha, I go to china every year to see family, but I had never been to the market until now…. hehe

@megan64 I love the food in France, it’s so nice and everything is so different, most places open up in the after noon

Blackberry's avatar

It didn’t do anything ‘amazing’, but I’ve been to 7 different countries and I realized we people are all the same regardless of our nation. I’ve talked with many different people, realizing that it was not any different than speaking with someone in the U.S. besides the language barrier. But then again, I was always in city settings, I would like to meet some monks in the mountains too.

bean's avatar

@Blackberry haha yeah, I think the most interesting thing to me are xiaolin temples in china, I havent been yet, but It would be a start to go there and learn more martial arts, and some day the monks and then later on some thing even more incredible :)

mass_pike4's avatar

going to Ireland and just sitting in the pubs and talking to the locals is a must. You have to go when they have live music, and of course to drink a few pints. I went to this pub in Dingle, Ireland and it was awesome. There was a big game going on, Manchester United vs Chelsea. The passion they have for the game of futbol is amazing. People are packed in there cheering the whole length of the game. The locals love to talk. The older ones are quite wise and do not judge you regardless of your age

bean's avatar

@mass_pike4 yeah, that sounds like a lot of fun, I might give that ago some day, I’ve never been to Ireland… yet, or Scotland and I’m part Scottish, so I think thats also on my to do list.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I lived overseas for many years in different parts of Asia, Europe, and Australia. For me, the single most amazing thing that happened was my realization that different cultures really are different.

Growing up, I assumed that people would look at situations in exactly the same way my group did. I learned as a exchange student in Japan that that was terrifically wrong. People in different cultures have figured out ways to solve life’s events in radically divergent ways, but they are still effective.

I learned about the rich fabric of human life and it’s effervescent variations.


I’ve visited the Far East a few times. It is so different from where I was born and raised (Canada). In Japan and Hong Kong, although it is so crowded with people there, I always felt “safe” walking on the streets. Even late at night, I never felt in danger——there was always a lot of people downtown and the stores were opened late. It’s also very technologically advanced in Hong Kong and Japan. The subways there are nothing like the subways in Canada or the U.S. Super fast and modern, they are “enclosed” in a metal tube so that bystanders are protected from falling on the tracks, and they can get you from one spot to another five miles away in less than ten minutes or so. The shopping experience is fabulous too——the latest fashions at cheap prices, with a myriad of styles and selections. There are eateries and coffee and cake shops on almost every corner, and 7-Elevens everywhere. The 7-Elevens are not like the ones here. Over there, the 7-Elevens are like mini-supermarkets that house an amazing variety of foodsnacks and candies, drinks, and pharmaceutical items. And unlike here, you don’t have to get into your car to go to buy something to eat or wear. Stores are everywhere just outside your residence. But the thing that amazed me the most is the modern-ness of Hong Kong and Japan. In Japan, the people are very polite and well-mannered, but everything is fast, fast, fast. In Hong Kong too, people walk fast, the escalators and elevators are fast, the cars are fast, the subways are fast, etc. Lol. I have relatives in Japan, and they are always surprised at how slow we do things in North America. When they came here for a visit one time, they couldn’t believe how “placid” everything was. They were actually envious of the slow pace of life here. So I guess to visit Hong Kong and Japan is wonderful, but to live, I’d rather live in Canada.

shrubbery's avatar

I spent a month in Africa. 3 weeks of that was in South Africa, mostly around Durban. A week of that was in Lesotho. That was the most amazing week of my life. We rode on horses from South Africa into Lesotho through a pass in the Drakensberg mountain range called Bushman’s Nek. We got stamps on our passport to say we left South Africa, but did not get a stamp to say we had entered Lesotho. Basically we were “nowhere” for a week, and it was amazing. It was like I was in a different world.

We were in a place called Qacha’s Nek, in Lesotho, because a primary school there that had been done up by some British highschool kids had been vandalised and wrecked over the holidays. We (Australian highschool kids) were there to fix it up again and decorate it. Each day we would walk along the road for a couple of kilometres to the school from where we were staying. The views were amazing, and so were the people. It was such a different culture, it was fascinating.

We had to source out a wheelbarrow to borrow from a local, as the school didn’t own one. It took a while, not many people there owned such an expensive commodity as a wheelbarrow. We had brought giant buckets of paint with us, and already many women of the village had pleaded with us to give them the buckets after we had finished with them, as they were very valuable to their way of life.

The kids were beautiful. They just wanted to help us so much. Even though it was their holidays they came to the school every day to try and help us. It got a bit chaotic and paint was flying everywhere so we took in turns to play games with them outside. They were always just so cheerful, no matter what. They were fascinated by our cameras and loved seeing themselves on the little screens.

As well as fixing up the classrooms in the school, we built a fence around an area they could use as a vegetable patch. We also dug a ditch around the netball court that the British people had made so that it didn’t flood in the rainy season. We filled it with rocks so it didn’t deteriorate, and even such a seemingly inane task like collecting stones, the kids took to with fervor. When we had finished the classrooms, we got each child to dip their hand in coloured paint and put a handprint on the wall. We hoped that by getting them so involved in the reparation of their school, they would take more pride in it and be less inclined to vandalise it.

The principal of the primary school’s son, who was our age, was an amazing help. We became quick friends and exchanged addresses. As soon as we were home I printed out my photos and posted it to him. While we were there he helped teach us about Lesotho culture and some of their language. I will never forget him. We ran out of time to finish fixing all the broken glass panes in the windows. Without any previous experience, only what we taught him, he continued to fix the windows after we left.

A few of us got to visit the village chief. We presented him with a gift as we had been told, but the village elder was also there. He had been the first ever student at the school in Qacha’s nek and he just couldn’t believe that 15 teenage girls all the way from Australia would come, using their own money, to his tiny little village in the mountains to fix up the school. He said that the chief didn’t deserve our gift, and from now on he had better make sure that the school was kept in order. It was amazing to see this display of authority in the village, where the elder is actually allowed to chide the chief.

We also rode on horseback down the mountains back into South Africa. That was an amazing experience in itself. We were allowed to go off at intervals, and gallop if we were brave enough. Galloping at the horse’s top speed, down the mountainside, seemingly by myself, was the most exhilarating experience of my life.

The rest of the month in South Africa was amazing too, but that week was the best. I had the most amazing experience I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to do so. If you can travel, and experience anything like I did, DO.

lilikoi's avatar

My experience in Africa was profound. Two years later, I am still following local politics of a place I had absolutely no interest in prior to my visit. What I learned is that I’m naturally drawn to what is familiar, but the unfamiliar has just as much to offer. It is in the unfamiliar that we perhaps stand to learn the most.

Every culture, place is interesting in its own way. Deciding where to travel is a very personal decision because there’s not enough time to see everything…

bean's avatar

@MRSHINYSHOES and @shrubbery wow and wow…. that’s what I’m talking about

@lilikoi ye, i agree

janbb's avatar

Meeting my future husband when hitch-hiking around England is pretty high on my list of amazing things that happened to me in other countries! (Other than that, I would say the beautiful small villages of France, the crusader ruined city of Acre in Israel, the flora and fauna of Costa Rica, the layers of history ever-present in Rome….)

bean's avatar

@janbb now thats adventure! romantic way to meet the man of your dreams haha!
and the way you put everything was beautiful :P and romantic too.

john65pennington's avatar

In Jamaica, i was amazed at how fast this person braided my wifes hair.

TheLoneMonk's avatar

Beaches in the Costa del Sol region of Spain that allow complete nudity. Culture shock to me me, but boy howdy what good looking people they have there. I think if the US was a little less uptight and allowed completely nude beaches everywhere people would try to buff up and become more healthy so they could walk the beach naked. I’d mow the lawn naked if I could.

bean's avatar

@theLoneMonk LOL wow, that would be some crazy experience, definitely a to do on the list ;)

mattbrowne's avatar

Yes, in Kansas. It was amazing.

bean's avatar

@mattbrowne what’s did you find amazing in Kansas?

mattbrowne's avatar

@bean – To me Kansans are the most friendly and supportive people in the world. I explained about it in more detail here:

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