Being a citizen of the world means that you identify with a constantly growing community and that you contribute to positive growth within that community. It is important to identify yourself with a global community, but that does not mean that you should travel far or abandon your personal identity. To become a citizen of the world, you must have an open mind, educate yourself, get involved in your community, and travel when possible.
Method 1 of 4: Be Open-minded
Step 1. Learn about your heritage
To be a citizen of the world, you must identify with a world community, but you must not lose your heritage or culture. Your heritage includes what cultures are present in your family's history, what culture your family actively subscribes to, and what community you currently live in. To learn about these aspects, talk to your family, research your family history online, and learn more about your community by being an active citizen.
- You can research your background on websites like Ancestry.com. Most websites that offer this service charge a fee.
- Be an active member of your community by exploring its museums, using its library, and talking to other members of the community.
- Ask your family what they consider to be their heritage. It is possible to have several different heritages in one family.
- Think about where you come from. For example, if you are an American, there are many cultures within that nationality. You may be an American living in Texas, United States, but you have a Mexican heritage.
Step 2. Find out about other people's backgrounds
Ask your friends, family, or teachers about their cultural background and what it means to them. This is not limited to those you know personally. You can also do background research on your favorite political or entertainment characters, whether current or historical.
For example, you might ask something like, “What do you consider to be your cultural background? Are these important to you? Before asking other people about their backgrounds, be sure to tell them that you are trying to learn more about other cultures. Be as polite and respectful as possible. Don't push the topic if the other person doesn't want to talk about it
Step 3. Learn about equality and inequality
Thinking that all people are equal goes beyond respect. To be a true citizen of the world you must believe that everyone is the same regardless of race or religion. A person who believes in equality believes that everyone deserves health care, education, respect and justice when they have been hurt. Watch the news, and read newspapers and history books to understand the inequality that has taken place in the past and still persists in the present. To believe in equality, it is crucial to determine where it has not been achieved.
Also, read history books to see in which cases equality could be achieved. For example, it is important to learn about the civil rights movement in the 1960s, as well as the important people involved in it, such as Martin Luther King Jr
Method 2 of 4: Educating Yourself
Step 1. Learn about current and past events
Visit the library, subscribe to various newspapers, and watch the news. You may have learned a little about past events in your history class, but you can refresh your world history knowledge by visiting the library and reading about different cultures in history books. To understand where the world is today, you must see how past events have influenced the present. This is equal to or even more important than staying up-to-date on events happening around the world.
Some things to learn about include politics (international treaties), programs, wars (past and present), tragedies, positive events, politics, and entertainment news around the world. You can find this information at your local library, on the Internet, and on television. It is possible to find international news in your language
Step 2. Discover the values of other cultures
It is possible and necessary to respect the values of a global community, but it is also important to learn about them. Some values to learn about are human rights, poverty reduction, conflict prevention between countries, and sustainable economic growth. You can learn more about these values by visiting your local library, watching the news, and searching for country-specific values on the Internet.
- Consider cultures that seem a long way from your own. If you are familiar with Western culture, consider learning about countries like South Korea, India, and China. If you are familiar with oriental culture, consider learning about France, Canada, and Norway. You can also learn about countries like Brazil and Argentina.
- Other values like religion, entertainment, and manners can be learned in the same way, but you can also learn about them by talking to members of other cultures.
Step 3. Read as much as you can
You will learn about values and events by reading, as well as parts of the world you would never have thought of. You can learn about your own culture and about other cultures by reading books, both fiction and non-fiction. Reading will allow you to better understand the mindset of other people, which would not be possible otherwise.
You can look for recommended reading on websites like Goodreads, TasteKid, and Shelfari
Step 4. Learn another language
Learning a new language has many benefits. This is the best way to get to know another culture, open your mind more and overcome cultural gaps. Learning another language can seem overwhelming, but it can be done with time and dedication. You can learn another language by yourself, in a class and with the help of a friend who is willing to support you.
- Borrow a language learning book from the library. This book will not help you to speak a language fluently, but it is a good introduction to basic principles and grammar.
- Look for classes in your community. Often times, universities will allow you to enroll, but there are programs that offer classes in a certain language in the community. In addition, there are also online classes.
- Once you've learned the basics, try communicating with native speakers in the language you've chosen to learn. You can ask people in your community or try to communicate with people online, as long as you do so in a safe way. Make sure the other person is willing and happy to help you.
Step 5. Learn about your purchases
Unless you consciously buy local things, there is a good chance that many of the things you own and buy come from other parts of the world. Globalization has made trading, importing and exporting simpler and more common than they ever were. This seems like a good thing, as it has made some products cheaper, but it is bad because the conditions in which these products are made are not always the best. Pay attention to what you buy, determine where it is made, and learn about the conditions in which the product was made. Some things to find out include the following:
- What are the conditions for employees at the plant where my shoes were manufactured?
- Do employees receive a decent salary?
- Is the factory where my olive oil is made responsible with the environment?
- Does the factory that makes my t-shirts support gay rights?
Step 6. Understand climate change
Being a citizen of the world is more than just engaging with people and understanding them. Learning about the environment we live in, as well as the ongoing climate change crisis, is also important. There are still people who disprove this fact, but the supporting evidence is prominent. You can do an online search to learn about climate change, watch documentaries, and read news that specifically focuses on the environment.
To learn what you can do to be more environmentally friendly, do an online research on the Environmental Protection Agency. Their website offers a list of things you can do in your daily life to limit greenhouse gas emissions
Method 3 of 4: Get Involved in Your Community
Step 1. Share and listen to stories
Being part of a global community starts in your local community. Share stories about your background and listen to other people's stories. You can ask your friends, family, or other people you see at your school, church, or work to share stories about their background.
- For example, if you are talking to someone from another culture, you could ask something like, “How do you celebrate your most important holiday? What are you doing that day? If you are talking to a friend or family member, you might ask them about a memory from their childhood.
- You can also turn to social media to listen and share stories with a larger community. For example, you can access YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook to share or search for content.
Step 2. Support art, music and culture in your community
Look for art and music exhibits. Also, look for cultural fairs and exhibitions. You can go to theaters, cultural venues, schools and cultural centers to ask for information on upcoming events. Taking time to support events in your community, both financially and with your time, is a great way to actively participate in it.
Step 3. Make new friends
Building and nurturing relationships is a vital part of being an active member of a global community. Make new friends from your culture, as well as other cultures. Start locally and then you can make connections globally through social media and pen pal programs.
- If you are at school, ask one of your classmates to participate in an activity with you. If you work, ask one of your coworkers if they want to accompany you to an event.
- Post and reply to other people's updates on social media. You can contact other people in your community or in other parts of the world. However, remember not to share personal information with strangers.
- Join a pen pal program. You can register on secure web pages to exchange letters or emails with another person anywhere in the world. This is a good way to learn about the daily life and values of another person from a different culture. Some of these programs are PenPal World, Mail friends, and International Pen Friends.
Step 4. Volunteer in your area
You don't have to travel far away to make a positive impact by volunteering, as there are many opportunities to do so within your community. You can volunteer at a homeless shelter, senior center, or school. Many people acting at the local level contribute to change at the global level.
VolunteerMatch is a website that looks for volunteers tailored to your needs in your community. Enter your email and you will receive a weekly newsletter with opportunities to volunteer in your community
Step 5. Donate wisely
It's okay if you don't have the means to donate, but if you do, do it wisely. Donating is a great way to support local and global causes, but there are many charities that don't use funds honestly. Do some research on any foundation you choose before donating money to it. Some trusted foundations include the following:
- The Life You Can Save. This is a website that recommends trustworthy charities:
- Zidisha. This foundation focuses on microloans. This system consists of lending small amounts of money to a person or company without interest or with very low interest. Usually the money goes to companies or people in developing countries:
Step 6. Stand up for others in the face of injustice
Injustice towards people, animals and the land is something that has occurred throughout history. Unfortunately, injustice still plays out in the world today. A member of a global community should not be passive, but rather defend others against any wrong person or event. You decide how active you want to be.
- Express your opinion on social media. There are labels dedicated to specific causes. Some of these causes are #BlackLives Matter and #YesAllWomen.
- Attend a peaceful protest for a cause you support in your city.
Method 4 of 4: Travel to other places
Step 1. Travel by road
Seeing the world is part of being a global citizen. You don't have to travel far to learn about other parts of the world. For example, you can travel to the city, the state or even the neighboring country if you live in an area where it is possible to do so. The important thing is that you observe and interact with the land, people and culture of the locality.
Step 2. Teach in another community
It is enough to teach others in your community, but teaching abroad is also an option. For example, you can volunteer to teach in another country or become a teacher in exchange for payment. There are several programs in which you can apply for admission to teach in the place of your choice. Some programs require a specific professional title, but others do not.
- The JET program is an organization that sends teachers to Japan to teach English.
- The TEFL program sends teachers to speak English in various countries.
Step 3. Volunteer
You can volunteer to teach, but there are other options if teaching isn't your thing. Volunteering is a great way to help others while enriching your own knowledge of other cultures. For example, you can volunteer to work on a farm, build schools in developing countries, or share your religion with others.
- The WWOOF program sends volunteers to work on farms around the world.
- Global Vision International is a program that has volunteer and internship opportunities around the world and in a wide variety of fields, such as animal care and education.
- International Volunteer HQ has programs around the world related to childcare, medical care, etc.
- Keep in mind that most volunteer programs require payment of a fee.
Step 4. Travel to another country
Traveling abroad can be expensive, but it is possible if you save money in the long run and are on a budget. To spend less money while traveling, hire low-price airlines, buses, or trains. Also, avoid staying in expensive hotels. Instead, stay in an apartment through the Airbnb service or consider Couchsurfing, a website that offers a free place to stay. Shop at a local store instead of eating at a restaurant. You don't have to live extravagantly when traveling to have the best experience abroad.
Just stay in situations where you feel comfortable. Connect through certified websites and leave any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable
- Read the "New Internationalist" magazine.
- Becoming a citizen of the world requires a conscious effort. It is an ongoing and sometimes frustrating process, but it is worth it.
- Communicate with members of your community who come from other cultures, but do so in a respectful way.
- Some friends, family, or other members of your community may disagree with your efforts to be a citizen of the world. This can be hurtful and frustrating, but you should sit down with them and talk to them about why you are making such efforts.
- Don't spend all your money in an effort to become an active member of your community. No money is required to learn and be active. Also, budget wisely.
- Do not stay in any situation that endangers your safety. Learn and grow in a safe environment. Leaving your comfort zone and endangering your safety is not the same.