Learning a language = learning a culture
To truly understand a language and the people speaking that language, you also have to make a conscious effort to learn about the culture and history of these people. I know that the cultures of the countries where a language is spoken can be very different (e.g. Mexico vs. Spain, France vs. all African states where French is spoken, and even England vs. Ireland vs. Australia), so these suggestions work best if you have a specific target country in mind.
Here are some ideas on where to start:
look at the political system of your target country/culture: how does it work? Who are the most important people right now? Is there a monarchy?
look at the (broad) history of your target country/culture: since when is it an official country? Has it been in any wars? If so, with who and why? Was this country ever colonised or a coloniser?
research the most popular TV shows from the last 20 - 30 years and watch some of them
find out the most popular sport of this target country/culture and the culture surrounding it
research the holidays and how they are celebrated and whether there are any special holidays & what they mean to your target country/culture
watch some movies and TV shows that were made in your target country/culture, so you can get insights into the everyday lives of these people and how they interact
watch/read some news of your target country to find out what’s happening there right now & what the most important topics are for them
research how the school & education system works
research how the healthcare system works
research the typical cuisine of your target country/culture
find out whether there is some kind of traditional wear, its history, and what it means to the people
find out whether there are any indigenous people living in your target country, what their history is, and how they are perceived/treated in the country’s society nowadays
are there any stereotypes about this country/culture? Research whether or not they are true and why they exist in the first place
find out whether there is some kind of traditional folk music. Listen to it and find out its history and what it means to your target country/culture
what are the main religions of your target country/culture and how incorporated are their practices in society?
are there any social divides in your target country/culture? If so, what are they based on?
how is your target country’s relationship to its neighbouring countries?
If you have any other ideas or suggestions, feel free to comment or reblog!
Beans on Toast pt 2- Jung Wooyoung (Soulmate au)
Synopsis: Picking up from the last part where Y/n and Wooyoung met and promised to see each other again when they were free. Pretty much just a fluffy getting to know each other chapter.
[Word count: 2.3k]
Note: just saying this now so I don't have to mention it in the fic and ruin the flow a bit-> Chi-Maek (치맥) is Korean slang for (fried) chicken and beer. You have them together since they compliment each other well.
Y/N stayed true to his word and called Wooyoung at the end of the day.
His hands were clammy as he dialled his soulmate's (His soulmate!) number. He was already usually nervous when calling people but the fact that it was Wooyoung made it even more stressful.
He prayed that he at least didn't stutter.
The phone rang a few times and just as Y/N was about to admit defeat and hang up, Wooyoung answered the phone.
"Hey!" He greeted, sounding a little breathless.
Y/N could hear music pounding in the background and frowned. Where was Wooyoung?
"Hey, how are you?"
"Pardon? Wait, let me move to a quieter spot." Wooyoung half-yelled into the phone.
Y/N was burning with curiosity. Was Wooyoung at a club or something? It was only six o'clock in the evening and the music and talking in the back also didn't sound quite as loud as the noise of a club would sound.
"Hey, sorry, I'm at practice," Wooyoung said, softer now as the background noise faded.
"Yeah, I am part of a dance crew so I head over to the dance studio pretty much every day after classes."
That explained Wooyoung's toned figure then.
"Oh, sorry to interrupt."
"No, no it's fine! I don't mind if it's you." Y/n could almost hear the smile in Wooyoung's voice and he mirrored the action.
"I was going to ask if you were free? But if you're still busy that's alright. I can try again some other time."
"No, I'm free!" Wooyoung half yelled and Y/N chuckled softly at his enthusiasm.
"Well then, are you up for chi-maek?"
Y/N's heart was pounding away in his chest. It had been a long time since he'd been this nervous.
"Sound's great! We can do some catching up. Just let me wrap up here and change and I'll be with you."
"Okay. Do you want to meet there?"
"Where did you have in mind?"
"That place that opened up near the university. Do you know the one?"
"Yeah, me and my friends went there two weeks ago. I'll meet you there."
Y/N felt a stupid blush form on his face, "Okay. See you there."
Wooyoung had not given him a time, he realised, as he hung up. Shit, what was he supposed to do now? He was still on campus and the dance studio was right by the university so the walking distance would be about the same. If they both left now, they'd be able to reach the chicken place at roughly the same time, maybe even meeting en route.
But were they both leaving at the same time? Y/n had no clue. He checked his appearance in his front camera before gathering himself and his courage and deciding he'd just leave for the restaurant now.
It was only a ten-minute walk but by the time he'd reached the place, the darkness of nighttime had fallen. He entered the place, instantly greeted by the scent of fried chicken and the buzz of conversation.
He scanned the room for Wooyoung's friendly face but couldn't spot him. His heart sank a little in disappointment but he reminded himself that Wooyoung had been at practice.
He found a table by the large storefront window and sat down. A minute or so later a woman walked past and asked him if he wanted anything. He simply settled on a glass of water. His ears burned and he pulled out his phone in an attempt to look busy as the waitress gave him a pitiful smile; he was sitting all by himself in a room full of happy tables. He wanted to blurt out that he was waiting for someone but just kept quiet.
He accepted the ice water she returned with and stared out the window at the people passing by, hoping to see Wooyoung among them.
Nearly twenty minutes of waiting passed, the waitress still giving him looks, and Y/n wondered if perhaps he was being stood up.
He'd only met Wooyoung today, maybe Wooyoung wasn't as interested in him as he was in Wooyoung. No, he told himself, Wooyoung had been terribly reluctant in leaving him earlier that day, he must surely have some interest in seeing Y/n, right?
But Y/n couldn't help the feeling of doubt that had settled in his chest. That feeling was replaced by excitement though as he saw Wooyoung push the door of the establishment open and scan the room.
A bright smile graced Wooyoung's handsome face as he spotted Y/n. He waved and Y/n returned the wave with a grin of his own. Wooyoung took a seat opposite Y/n, a smile still on his face.
"Hey," Wooyoung greeted, sounding almost breathless. Did he run here? The possibility of him being that excited to see him made Y/n's heart do a flip.
"Hi," he breathed in response, with a smile.
"Sorry it took me so long, I showered after practice,"
That would explain his towel-dried-looking hair and the scent of body wash and cologne that surrounded him.
"It's alright. Although, that waitress kept staring at me with a sad smile. Probably thought I was getting stood up."
Wooyoung let loose a laugh, "Which waitress?"
"The one by the-" he grabbed Wooyoung's arm as the boy was about to whip his head around to see what Y/n was talking about, "Don't look!"
Wooyoung laughed and placed a warm hand over Y/n's where it gripped his wrist. Y/n tried to ignore the butterflies he felt forming in his belly.
Wooyoung looked like he was going to say something but they were interrupted by the same waitress that Y/n had been talking about.
She eyed their soulmate marks as they were exposed when they let go of each other and smiled softly, "You guys look good together."
Y/n blushed and looked down awkwardly at the polished surface of the table.
The waitress kept smiling at them.
Wooyoung felt a twinge of annoyance, it was rude to stare so openly at people's marks and while Wooyoung didn't have a problem with being loud and open about his relationships and friendships, he knew that Y/n was shy and a look across the table would tell you he was very clearly a little uncomfortable with her staring.
He knew she meant well though and just simply ordered their food and drinks after asking Y/n what he'd like.
She left them to go put in their order.
Wooyoung turned back to Y/n and slid his hand across the table, hooking Y/n's index finger with his pinky, "You okay?"
Y/n looked up and smiled, "I'm okay. How are you?"
Wooyoung sat back again, his hand back in his own lap again, "I'm alright. Starving to be honest- dancing burns a lot of calories."
"I can imagine. I don't really do any sports though."
"Yeah. I tried playing hockey once. Nearly lost an ankle and decided the life of strenuous activities wasn't for me."
Wooyoung laughed, "Then what do you do?"
Y/n hesitated for a moment. He had always been a little shy about his writing, to be honest. Something about writing just made him feel so vulnerable. The words on the paper were unfiltered thoughts and emotions that he had and he always published his short stories under a pen name to avoid the overwhelming sense of vulnerability he sometimes felt with some of his works. He loved writing but he couldn't help feeling that way at times.
If he was going to ever publish anything under his real name, it would be the book he's working on. But that wouldn't be anytime soon.
Wooyoung was still looking at him expectantly.
"I write," He finally admitted.
Wooyoung smiled and for a second Y/n thought that he was going to poke fun at him but he didn't.
"That's so cool. What do you like to write about?"
And just like that, conversation was flowing, only interrupted by their food and drinks being delivered to them.
It was easy to talk to Wooyoung. He listened well and the conversation never ran dry. If there was even a hint of silence, Wooyoung was quick to fill it with some crazy story.
Y/n learnt a lot about him. Not just things like how he'd set his professor's hair on fire (Y/n finally got to hear the full story), or how he once mixed up sugar and salt when cooking and created an unsalvageable dish ("I'm good at cooking though! Promise!") but he also learnt about his family and how much he loved his little brother. He learnt about Wooyoung's friend circle and his best friend San. He learnt about his likes and dislikes. He was an excellent storyteller and Y/n never grew tired of hearing him talk.
Wooyoung had similar thoughts about Y/n.
Y/n had no idea how much time had passed but it felt like nowhere near enough. He wanted to know this man like the back of his hand, he thought as he watched him tell another story very animatedly.
"And so, I said to San, 'It's a bad idea, Sannie.' but my words fell on deaf ears- he never listens to me. I asked him if he had a death wish but he ignored me and still poured the hair dye into Seonghwa's conditioner bottle!"
"What happened after?"
"Well, Seonghwa fell right into Sans trap, of course. Luckily, none of the dye got in Seonghwa's eyes and San lived to tell the tale because the pink hair colour really grew on Seonghwa."
Y/n laughed, "Your friends sound like a handful."
Wooyoung grinned (Did he ever stop smiling? Y/n didn't want him to stop), "They are but I love them. You should meet them sometime."
"I'd like that."
"I'd love to meet yours too. You said Jongho and his girlfriend play soccer?"
"That's awesome. Yunho loves soccer too. I like it too but I'm afraid I'm not very good at it."
Soon enough the night came to a close. They'd lost track of time and when they checked the time it was already going on twelve o'clock. They both had morning classes and despite still having so much to talk about, they knew they would have to save it for another day.
"I had a good time," Wooyoung said as they waited outside on the sidewalk for his Uber to arrive. Y/n was going to walk. His home was only five minutes away.
"Me too," Y/n admitted with a blush.
Wooyoung could see it even in the dim light cast by the streetlight. He chuckled affectionately and pulled Y/n in for a hug. Y/n immediately melted into his arms without hesitation. Maybe the beer was getting to him.
"You're adorable," Wooyoung murmured into Y/n's hair and Y/n just buried his face in Wooyoung's neck, letting the scent of Wooyoung's cologne and the heat of his body wash over him.
He let Wooyoung hold him but in all honesty he didn't know what to do with Wooyoung's comments and affection. Was he flirting? Y/n had no idea although a large part of him really hoped that he was. Romantic attraction or relationships with soulmates weren't always guaranteed. Sometimes soulmates were purely platonic which was perfect and beautiful in its own way but Y/n didn't think he wanted that.
The honking of a car horn forced them to separate.
Wooyoung pulled his phone out from his pocket as he stepped away from Y/n. His eyes flicked from his phone screen to the car's license plate, "Looks like my ride's here."
Wooyoung looked at Y/n, patient with him even though he knew the metre was running.
Y/n forced himself to hold eye contact with Wooyoung, "Do you want to do this again?"
Wooyoung beamed at him, "Of course! I'd love that."
Y/n smiled brightly and Wooyoung reached out and gave his hand a squeeze before getting in the car.
"Text me when you get home, 'kay?"
Y/n nodded and then Wooyoung was gone, leaving only his lingering scent and the racing heartbeat of his soulmate behind.
Y/n: hey, it's me
Y/n: just letting you know I made it home in one piece
Wooyoung: good to know ur in one piece.
Wooyoung: not sure i want my soulmate in multiple pieces
Y/n's heart swelled at the word 'soulmate'. It still felt so surreal to him.
Y/n: thanks for tonight I really enjoyed myself
Wooyoung: of course you'd enjoy urself- I was there.
Y/n rolled his eyes at Wooyoung's playful teasing, already getting used to it.
Y/n: night, wooyoung
Wooyoung: nighty night, y/n. Dream of me <3
Y/n definitely couldn't stop the way his cheeks flushed, even though he knew Wooyoung was just stuffing around. He felt like a school kid with a crush. He was one step away from kicking his legs and writing in his diary or whatever it was that kids did these days. He couldn't decide whether he loved the feeling or hated it.
Y/n: I'd rather not have nightmares
Y/n: sleep well <3
The heart was more for comedic effect but he still blushed as he sent it.
Wooyoung: you too, gorgeous <3
And now Y/n was definitely kicking his feet and blushing. Maybe he needed to buy that diary.