When we hear the word ‘cultured’, we often think of fancy things like art galleries, opera houses, or far-off places.
But being cultured isn’t just about these high-flying experiences. It’s also found in everyday life, in the experiences we’ve had, and the people we’ve met.
In this article, we’re going to list 11 life experiences that show you’re more cultured than you think.
If you’ve had these experiences, it’s time to give yourself some credit!
You’ve learned about different ways of life and broadened your outlook without even knowing it.
So let’s get started and discover these everyday signs of being cultured.
1. You’ve Tried Different Cuisines
Now, we’re not just talking about eating sushi or trying that new Italian place around the corner.
We’re talking about genuinely immersing yourself in the food culture of a different country or region without leaving your hometown.
Maybe you’ve tasted Ethiopian injera at a local restaurant, or you’ve cooked an authentic Mexican dish from scratch, or you’ve savored Vietnamese pho at a friend’s house.
Trying different cuisines isn’t just about satisfying your taste buds.
It’s about understanding and appreciating how food plays a central role in different cultures.
It’s about learning the stories behind these dishes – why they’re prepared the way they are, what ingredients they use, and how they’re served.
If you’ve done this, you’ve experienced culture in a deliciously engaging way!
This shows an open mind, curiosity and most importantly, respect for another culture’s traditions – all key signs of being cultured.
2. You’ve Read Books from Different Genres and Cultures
Books are like passports to different worlds, and if you’ve read widely, you’re already a seasoned traveler.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t physically visited the places written about; through reading, you’ve walked down the bustling streets of Victorian London in a Dickens novel, experienced the magic realism of Latin America in a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story, or understood the complex social fabric of India through Arundhati Roy’s words.
Reading books from different cultures and genres helps us understand and empathize with different perspectives. It broadens our minds and fosters an appreciation for diversity.
So if your bookshelf is a mix of different genres and authors from around the world, congratulations!
You’ve been on a global cultural tour without even leaving your comfy reading nook.
3. You’ve Participated in a Cultural Festival
Let me tell you about the time I attended the Diwali festival with my Indian friend. I was welcomed into their home and got to be a part of their family’s celebration.
The house was beautifully lit with diyas (oil lamps), and the aroma of delicious Indian food filled the air.
I wore traditional Indian attire and even had henna patterns drawn on my hands.
It was a night filled with laughter, stories, and an incredible sense of community.
That night, I learned so much about Indian culture, their traditions, and the significance of Diwali – the triumph of light over darkness.
Participating in a cultural festival isn’t just about having fun; it’s about immersing yourself in another culture, learning about their traditions, values, and beliefs.
If you’ve ever been part of such a festival, you’ve experienced a culture in one of its most vibrant forms.
And trust me, it’s an experience that enriches you culturally far more than you realize.
4. You’ve Learned a Second Language
Learning a new language is like getting a key to another culture.
It’s not just about the words and grammar; it’s also about understanding the nuances of another culture, their idioms, their slang, their way of thinking.
So, if you’ve learned a second language, you’re not just bilingual; you’re also bi-cultural in a way.
You’ve walked in the shoes of another culture, and that definitely makes you more cultured than you realize!
5. You’ve Formed Friendships with People from Different Backgrounds
Some of the most enriching life experiences come from the connections we make with those who are different from us.
It’s through these friendships that we get glimpses into other cultures, traditions, and ways of life.
Think about a friend who grew up in a different country or even just a different part of your own country.
By knowing them, you’ve been able to see the world through their eyes.
You’ve heard their stories, shared their food, maybe even participated in their family traditions.
These friendships don’t just broaden our horizons; they touch our hearts. They teach us empathy, understanding, and acceptance.
They show us that despite our differences, we’re all human at the end of the day.
So if you’ve forged such connections, know this – these relationships have made you more cultured and compassionate, enriching your life in ways more profound than you might realize.
6. You’ve Listened to Music from Around the World
Let me take you back to a time when I was in college. A friend introduced me to a genre of music I’d never heard before – Afrobeat.
It was unlike anything I’d ever listened to, with its infectious rhythm and powerful lyrics that spoke about social issues.
I found myself completely drawn to it, and before I knew it, I was exploring more African music, from the smooth sounds of South African jazz to the energetic beats of West African dance music.
This musical journey didn’t just introduce me to new tunes; it opened my eyes to different cultures, histories, and stories.
If you’ve ever found yourself lost in the beautiful melodies of a Spanish flamenco or tapping your feet to the catchy rhythm of Korean pop music, you’ve connected with another culture through one of its purest forms – music.
It’s a clear sign that you’re more cultured than you might think.
7. You’ve Experienced Culture Shock
Being cultured isn’t always about the beautiful moments.
Sometimes, it’s about those uncomfortable moments when you’re faced with something totally unfamiliar and different from what you’re used to – a.k.a. culture shock.
Maybe it was when you moved to a new city and couldn’t understand the local dialect.
Or when you tried a dish from a different country and found the taste too strange. Or when you encountered social norms that were completely different from yours.
Culture shock can be tough. It can make you feel out of place and confused.
But it’s also a powerful learning experience. It forces you to step out of your comfort zone, open your mind, and adapt to new situations.
If you’ve ever experienced culture shock, remember – it’s not something to be embarrassed about.
Instead, view it as a sign that you’re becoming more cultured and adaptable, because you’ve firsthand experienced and learned from the diversity of life.
8. You’ve Explored Art from Different Cultures
Art is a beautiful expression of culture. It tells the stories of a people, their history, their beliefs, and their worldview.
If you’ve ever found yourself mesmerized by Japanese ukiyo-e prints, deeply moved by a Frida Kahlo painting, or fascinated by the intricate motifs of Native American pottery, you’ve connected with another culture on a deeply emotional level.
If you’ve been exploring art from around the world, you’re not just more cultured – your brain might also be more flexible and open-minded than you think!
9. You’ve Engaged in Meaningful Conversations about Global Issues
I remember a time when I found myself in a deep discussion with a group of friends about climate change.
We were from different countries, each bringing our own perspectives to the table.
We talked about how climate change was affecting our respective countries, the measures our governments were taking, and what we as individuals could do.
It was a powerful conversation that made me realize how connected we all are.
Engaging in meaningful conversations about global issues is a sign of cultural awareness.
It shows that you’re not just concerned about what’s happening in your own backyard but also interested in understanding the bigger picture.
It demonstrates empathy and respect for diverse perspectives.
If you’ve engaged in such conversations, know that these discussions have enriched you culturally more than you think.
10. You’ve Admitted When You Were Wrong about a Cultural Stereotype
Let’s be honest; we’ve all had our moments of ignorance.
Maybe you made an assumption about a culture based on a stereotype you heard, only to find out later that it was wrong.
It’s okay – we’re all human, and we all make mistakes.
What matters is that you were open-minded enough to recognize your mistake and learn from it.
Admitting when you’re wrong shows humility, a willingness to learn, and respect for others’ cultures.
It’s a big step towards becoming more culturally aware.
11. You’ve Felt like an Outsider
There are moments when you find yourself in a situation where you don’t fit in. You feel out of place, like an outsider looking in.
Maybe it was at a cultural event where everyone else seemed to know the traditions except you.
Or maybe you were the only one in your friend group who didn’t understand a cultural reference.
Feeling like an outsider can be uncomfortable, even painful.
But it’s also a sign that you’re stepping outside your cultural comfort zone.
It means you’re experiencing diversity firsthand – and that’s something to be proud of.
Remember, being cultured isn’t about knowing everything; it’s about being willing to learn, grow, and embrace the beautiful diversity the world has to offer.
So if you’ve had these experiences, give yourself some credit – you’re more cultured than you realize!