Tower Bridge, Diliff, CC BY-SA 3.0

Whether you are on a gap year in a foreign land or hanging out with exchange students around campus, being a student often means meeting people from around the world. And that’s something to be celebrated. When I’ve traveled, I found the language gap can be occasionally frustrating if I am not fluent. Yet there are some activities that always bridge that gap between cultures.

Sports are one such activity, whether playing them or watching. Football is the most popular sport in the world, so watching a game with your friends is always an easy way to start a connection. Of all the teams to watch, Manchester United is your best bet for taking a friend to a game. They have around 95 million fans worldwide, according to the Unibet Premier League fan base, so it’s almost a guaranteed good time.

Card games are also an awesome way to bridge the gaps of cultures and languages because they involve face-to-face interaction in an intimate setting. Sitting around a table together having a laugh is an internationally recognized bonding ritual. Games like poker are well known across the world but keep it simple if you need to explain the rules so that language doesn’t become too much of a factor. The idea is to enjoy a game everyone knows how to play and is on equal footing together. It’s a recipe for a good time.

Speaking of recipes, cooking is another great way to get to know people from all over the world. If you have guests in your country, cook a meal that is typical of your country or lifestyle. Take turns cooking cuisines from all around the world with your friends and enjoy new aromas and tastes while learning about different cultures. Food does bring people together.

The final suggestion of the day for bridging gaps is to learn as much as you possibly can about the other person’s culture. Have an exchange in which you speak small amounts to teach and learn each other’s language. When you get more proficient (and more comfortable in the relationship), ask about their way of life back home to gain more of an understanding of their background and sense of self. Most of all, have fun getting to know people from other cultures. They will be some of the most interesting people you will ever meet.