4 experts have answered
There are certainly many ways to foster cultural interest including cultural practices and what people do, spiritual or religious beliefs and practices, art, music, dance, languages spoken etc
- Connect the classroom to the world via Skype https://education.skype.com/
- There are numerous online pen pal sites
- Livemocha based in the internet - learning a new language with the help of native speakers
- Cooking: cook different dishes from all over the world and involve your child in the process
- Google maps: do you know anyone living overseas? Fly to their home(s) and read up about the place/country they live in. Alternatively just use Google Maps to visit various cities and countries and then read up about the people and their traditions
- The DK A Faith like mine http://www.amazon.com/Faith-Like-Mine-Laura-Buller/dp/0756611776 and DK Illustrated Dictionary of Religions http://www.amazon.com/Illustrated-Dictionary-Religions-DK/dp/0789447118 are great books to foster interest, understanding and tolerance of various cultures and their religious preferences. DK also has a great book about various cultures.
- Attend cultural events in your community
- Find origins of things around you
- Make a game out of finding towns/cities/countries in an atlas and then read up about the place and peoples
- http://www.usborne.com/quicklinks/eng/catalogue/catalogue.aspx?cat=1&loc=uk&id=5083 Take a look at all the fabulous websites sited - one is able to page virtually through the book in order to access the online links even though the content of the book itself is not available online. Ditto http://www.usborne.com/quicklinks/eng/catalogue/catalogue.aspx?cat=1&loc=usa&id=4173
Learning about different cultures is important, especially in view of the workplace becoming increasingly globalised. In order to be interculturally competent (the ability to communicate effectively with people from different cultures) the communicator should have a proper understanding of different cultures and should be able to identify not only the differences but also the commonalities between cultures. A bi- or multi-cultural approach often focus only on the differences but all expats and TCK's are able to also point out the commonalities among themselves and among different cultures.
The best way to learn about the world is most definitely living among different cultures. One of the character traits of Third Culture Kids is the fact that they develop a three dimensional, whole world view. Travelling certainly will broaden perspectives. That said, the world has flattened significantly and the global has become local and vice versa (especially through the www.)
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Sift through the web and find a whole wealth of educational communities for kids to connect with
Edmodo.com is one of the top spots.
My school also organizes frequently exchange programs with foreign countries, in Europe and outside. This has surely had an impact in the way students perceive their growing age.
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As many people suggested a Pen Pal approach is the easiest. You can look for specific classes at www.epals.com
But finding the connection is only half the story. There are many creative ways to use these epals. Let them share their government system and leaders. What eat on holidays. What is their favorite food or music or art? What local legends do have?
Tie it into Google Earth and you have a whole curriculum.
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Like others have suggested, it's not necessary to physically travel to help your child learn about different cultures. We can be well 'traveled' without leaving home - for example traveling to the corners of the world via Google Earth can be fun as well as educational, as can borrowing books from the library. Travel, whether in the mind or physically, is a great way of developing imagination and ambition, opening the mind to new horizons and stimulating the desire to reach beyond one's own circumstances and surroundings, so yes, I would say it's very important to use as many different ways to make as many different cultural connections as possible.
How about visiting the local museum or art gallery, a cultural festival or local event? Take whatever opportunities there are to expose your child to different cultural traditions. If you are traveling, then take time in advance to do a 'virtual' vacation - encourage them to research the country they will be visiting.