Hello, Hola, Ni Hao, Ciao, Privet, Hallo, Konnichiwa, Aloha, Guten Tag, Bonjour, Al Salaam Aliykum…..
Being in an unknown environment can sometimes be scary. As a tennis player, you may find yourself in a new city or foreign country with an unknown language, and a culture to which you’re unaccustomed. This might seem overwhelming and intimidating, however it is also an opportunity for growth and discovery.
Every tournament across the globe provides the possibility to explore life beyond the tennis courts and learn about other cultures. Learning about new cultures makes us more appreciative of diversity and allows for an improved and more satisfying connection to other people, which fosters greater emotion and social intelligence. It sparks curiosity and creativity, allowing for your mind to expand and develop increased knowledge, ideas, and inspiration. It leads to greater global awareness, an appreciation that within the huge diversity of humankind, there are multiple shared experiences, and it will broaden your understanding of self and others.
Physiologically speaking, we humans are similar creatures, however, our greatest difference lies within our thoughts and beliefs, how we perceive and react to the world. Our beliefs and thoughts are the collection of our experiences, culture, environmental surroundings, relationships, and upbringing. Understanding that society is a composition of unique individuals, it can be expected that you will encounter beliefs and thoughts different than your own. Investigate your beliefs and listen openly to those who present a truth different than your own, you don’t need to agree in order to be respectful.
Adapting to specific cultural differences, including thought, when traveling is important in showing cultural awareness and respect. For example, if entering a church in Europe it is considered respectful to wear a top with sleeves to cover your shoulders; in the Middle East, it is proper to adopt a more modest style when in public places. It is also important to be an ambassador of your own culture and country when traveling. Representing your country of origin with dignity and honor will encourage others to visit your country and experience all it has to offer.
A greater understanding of how people think requires an openness to exploring new cultures and a willingness to immerse yourself in an unfamiliar environment. Initiating the first step into a new culture is the hardest part, but after that first step you will discover learn more about life, our vast and wonderful world, and more about yourself.
One of the best ways to experience a culture is through its food. Although there are various food choices and ways of eating, all countries use food to represent their culture and to interact and connect with each other. Even though the ingredients differ, every country has one thing in common- a love for food and the sharing of food/mealtimes with others.
Traditional cuisines are passed down from one generation to the next as an expression of cultural identity. We grow up eating the food of our culture, we are able to associate specific foods with memories of celebrations and of the people who prepared it. Food unites us, affording us the opportunity to embrace the heritage of the culture we are within. Trying country-specific cuisines can give you a greater appreciation and understanding of the culture as well as performance benefits. Incorporating healthy international cuisines or ingredients to your performance meal plan is a great way to add variety and maximize your fueling for performance. Exploring the countless food choices in other countries can lead to great discoveries, you may uncover a new favorite food! For cultural dishes that help boost performance, check out the WTA recipe card series as well as Physically Speaking topic “Travel Nutrition”.
**The apps above are only suggestions and may not be available in every country. WTA has not tested these apps to ensure they work as advertised.
The information provided within this Physically Speaking topic is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, psychiatric, psychological, health care or health management advice. If you have my health or related questions or concerns, please consult your physician or other qualified health care professional.
A special thanks to the author, WTA PHCP, Anna Peavler, PT, DPT