To Travel is To Live- Lessons From Bi-cultural Perspective

This is a guest post by Xenia. Thanks for contributing and sharing your wonderful story!

Some people are solely passionate about studying foreign cultures, some are passionate about learning new languages, and others love exotic vacations.  I am passionate about all of the above-mentioned, but mostly about the acquisition of intercultural skills because these skills are ultimately the key to any successful foreign encounter or rich travel experience. 

My life was one big journey and I have always had to adapt, learn, and develop new skills in order to be able to interact with individuals of foreign backgrounds and accommodate my international experiences; therefore being passionate about it has helped me greatly in achieving my goals, such as being employed at a transnational company.

My passion is deeply rooted in my background: I was born bilingual, half Hungarian, half Ukrainian/Russian, and I have moved to Belgium at the age of 14 having attended an American High School at a military base, and after, an international University in Denmark. Consequently, adaptation to foreign grounds was a fairly constant factor for me in all aspects of life and I realized this as a child, because already as a small kid I was fluent in two languages and travelled further than any of my class mates to visit my grandparents in Ukraine. I knew that I sort of belonged to two worlds and of course had to learn to accommodate both sides of my bilateral nature.  This wasn’t always easy and I was sometimes bullied because of the historical legacies of the Soviet Union that left a great wound in Hungarian pride. I learned early on that it was important to respect diversity and foreign values, thus paving the way for my future travel encounters and expat missions.

In my opinion, travelling was one of the richest experiences in my life and that is exactly what travel resulted in: invaluable intercultural experience. Even short trips sometimes changed my outlook on life. I also learned that it was important to leave all my prejudices behind, be informed, and be open to a whole set of new and exciting experiences. Although not all foreign experiences were pleasant, because not all individuals were always open to my presence and my values, the best experiences related to travel combined with my passion for intercultural skills, were a set of successful cultural encounters, new friendships that taught me a great deal about who I was, and of course professional connections that led to my job today.

At the moment I have plans of visiting friends in Australia and the United States. Of course I am going to visit my parents in Hungary and Italy too. To travel is to live, and I therefore recommend everybody to save up a bit and experience what our wonderful planet has to offer.

About the author: Xenia has a professional experience in the fashion and music industry, and an interest in modern lifestyle, intercultural communication, and travelling. She currently works for Miinto IE and Miinto UK and she has a background in Communication and EU Studies.

Photos by 365 Days Tumblr and telwanders

You’ll be seeing future guest posts from Xenia in this blog. Have a travel story? Grew up in different cultures? To guest post in this  blog, send an article or short letter about what’d you’d like to write (5 minutes only!) to kash.yu [at] gmail.  No worries, I don’t do email biting. 🙂

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2 thoughts on “To Travel is To Live- Lessons From Bi-cultural Perspective

  1. Ethical Blabbing says:

    Intercultural encounters can be extremely inspirational and in many cases they shape our personalities. Living in a multicultural world is actually giving us so many advantages, such a huge availability to absorbing new cultures and traditions, that cultural barriers should never hold us back. We are all different and that is the beauty of the world we live in.

    But have you found it easy to adapt to a new culture when travelling? Do you change your ethics according to the place you’re in? I have recently written an article on cultural flexibility, “When in Rome, do as Romans do” and I would really like to see your comments on the issue! http://ethicalblabbing.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/when-in-rome-do-as-romans-do/

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