Expand your cultural experience… without leaving your couch

You may not yet be ready to venture into a sit-down restaurant or to book a seat on the next flight to Europe, but with just a laptop, a notebook, and a decently stocked kitchen, there are plenty of things you can do from the comfort and safety of your own home to feel a greater connection with what the wider world has to offer.

Expand Your Palette

The International Marketplace is a local coalition of restaurants and businesses in the Lafayette Square area of Indianapolis. Though many cultural events are on hold, this community of shops is still active. The IM recently released the 7th edition of their ‘Passport to Indy’s Best Global Cuisine,’ accessible for free on their website. Follow their social media pages to see which of these restaurants are providing carry-out or delivery services if you’re not quite ready for the exquisite sit-down ethnic cuisine experience those dozens of restaurants can provide.

Plus, there’s never been a better time to expand your cooking skills. Many world-class culinary experts like French chef Éric Ripert, Italian chef Massimo Bottura and restaurateur Dave Chang continue to post recipes and videos aimed at making amazing international recipes accessible for home cooking.

Reflect on Past Travels

While you’re beginning to ease yourself back into life on the outside but still have one foot firmly planted at home, bid farewell to those “stuck at home” blues and finally go through those pictures you took on your Europe trip last summer! Many people have been creating posts centered around a place they have been, including pictures of food, art, music, and language tidbits under #culturalquarantine on their social media pages. This is a great way to go back through your old travel photos, do some research on the place next up on your travel list, or learn about somewhere completely new to you! Check out the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth for some great posts.

Explore the World from your Couch

Our partner organization, Global Ties U.S., has been offering plenty of ideas and resources for those of us feeling culturally disconnected. Global Ties Minnesota has created a ‘Music of the World’ playlist on Spotify featuring artists from Nigeria to Korea to Argentina.

Put away the phone and the laptop, light a candle, open a window, brew a cup of tea and enjoy a good book. A great read can transport to a different time or place, can certainly improve your mood and change your mindset from doom and gloom to intense curiosity. No matter what fears and anxieties we may be going through together, separated, we can always connect through art—whether it be books, food, music, or just a nice conversation with an old friend. This is the perfect time to sit back, relax, and enjoy the world.

Plan Ahead

Fill your planner with ways to get involved in the community in the post-quarantine world. For international volunteer opportunities throughout Indiana, please reach out to The International Center! And even when our world has returned to “normal” or we’ve discovered what the “new normal” is going to look like, we will still have rainy days that keep us indoors, or sniffles that suggest that another go at a quarantine is the right thing to do, or maybe we just plain don’t feel like venturing out. On those days, a cultural journey no farther away than our kitchen or recliner may just sound like the perfect way to pass a few hours!

By Chris Ebersole