Why intercultural awareness is crucial for travellers

19 October, 2018 0


The whole process of intercultural communication begins with the perception of the differences that exist in the encounter with the ‘other’ individual. The message of intercultural communication circulates around the “message linkage between individuals or groups from two different cultural situations” and the “the bridging of the gap between different cultures”.
One can ask now – What does this have to do with Authenticitys and our way of travelling?
Travelling with social impacts starts with the necessity of intercultural awareness and mutual understanding. One has to mention that Interculturality is based on this mutual understanding and interests, in which respect towards ‘the other’ is needed to learn from each other. The proper intercourse with diversity is not only about tolerating and accepting different cultures. It is about the inquiring and explaining of oneself in order to create this essential, common bond. Only through the openness in an intercultural encounter, the opposing subjects can understand each other and intercultural coexistence can actually become fruitful. No matter in which city you are travelling, which culture you visit- the encounter with ‘the other’ is guaranteed and thus, intercultural awareness needed.
Thus, growing familiarity towards ‘the other’ has to proceed step by step. Like most of the things in life, this process is necessary to provide some time for mutual understanding and learning.
An outstanding example of Authenticity offers would be the tour “Walking with the Zenú Community” in Cartagena, Colombia. This experience is all about intercultural interactions and connections and getting to know the perspective of the ‘other’.
Also, tours like “Experience local Lima” in Peru try to create with tourism a social impact that fosters the intercultural awareness and the interest in foreign cultures.

What is more, for more than 30 years, every second Sunday of October the ‘Día Internacional de Cometas por la paz’ (One Sky, One World) is celebrated – an event supported by the United Nations and UNESCO that uses the kite as a multicultural symbol to promote the mutual understanding among peoples, social justice and dialogue for coexistence. To cut a long story short – a day of sensitization, public participation, and social denunciation.

The objective of such events and tours is to recognize and interact with the complexity of ‘the other’ for a peaceful coexistence. Peace and peaceful coexistence in a society can only be established if individuals break their own cultural barriers and recognize the other human being in the interpersonal encounter. This interpersonal relationship of an intercultural encounter must always be taken into account. The key that needs to be discovered from the concept of the intercultural exchange is the ‘simple’ humanity, the relationship between two or more human beings who communicate because it is the only way to share our thoughts.
Obviously, it is not easy to set aside our prejudices about the ‘other’, and it is even more difficult to modify our way of thinking and change our perspectives. However, it is necessary to start from there – changing our way of thinking and recognizing the ‘other’ in a positive way.

Therefore, the world, which each individual has to strive for, is a world in which each individual is well received and approaches the ‘other’ with an open mind, interest, and curiosity to learn something ‘new’. In common sense – to struggle for peace. This hope lies in the way children are acting – sincere and with open hearts like they are born, acting as symbols for peace in the world.

As Dante Algheri says: “Three things remain of paradise: the stars of the night. The flowers of the day. And the eyes of children (1265-1321) “. Approaching the other human being with honesty and without prejudice, like a child, that should be our objective in each interpersonal encounter while travelling.

Let us be the initiative to change the world for a world of peace and equality, where each individual is welcome with its uniqueness and uniqueness. Let us break the borders of our cultural “shell”, and learn from the exemplary mind of children, by facing the “new” with sincerity and curiosity to spread worldwide peace.

And let us travel the world open-minded, honest and authentic, to enable peace and harmony in this world:

“How can there be peace without people understanding each other? And how can this be, if they don’t know each other. But how can that be, if they do not in the first place set out to know themselves“ (De Gennaro, 2017).


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