Why? Why travel to places that will shock you? Why should I go to countries that will push me completely out of my comfort zone?
To many, this doesn't make sense, but I hope I can change your mind.
Living in America can blind you to what cultures are actually like. Many try and hide their culture or are assimilated into an American version. This caused kids to grow up only knowing what cultures are from TV and movies.
I want to talk about the Muslim culture for a second. My grandfather is Palestinian and Muslim. He's from a small city in Israel called Tamra. After university, he left to work in Kuwait as a lawyer and eventually a judge. That's where he met my grandmother and ended up having 4 kids including my mom. From day one he sent all 4 kids to a British school. He didn't want them to learn Arabic and told my grandmother to raise them as Catholics. He knew he was going to move to the states while working for Gulf Oil and knew Muslims were not viewed as equals. Therefore, he didn't want his kids to be disadvantaged. Even though my grandfather was a devout Muslim, you would not get a Muslim experience by going to his house.
Compare that to my first experiences in Morocco, Africa. Morocco is country that has a muslim population of over 99%. I ended up arriving at my hostel at 9am. The hostel costs $4 a night and gives complimentary breakfast and tea everything morning. Since I didn't stay there the night before, there is supposed to be a strict rule of not allowing me to eat the free breakfast. This is very understandable and while I started walking out of the hostel to go explore Marrakech, the owner ran up and asked me to sit, relax, and eat breakfast with the rest of the hostel. It was against his culture to not offer me breakfast.
Another experience that is worth mentioning actually happened to my friend. Marrakech has some of the biggest Souks in the world. This friend that I mentioned went to the biggest one in the morning. As he was walking up to a store to buy tea, he noticed that the owner's family was in the connected room eating breakfast. The man who owned the store noticed him and walked away from his family to talk to my friend. When the man noticed that my friend was trying to do business, he refused and said it was against their culture to do business while eating with the family. He then invited my friend inside, fed him, and sold him tea after when they were all finished eating.
The Muslim culture is BY FAR the most caring and gives the most hospitality out of any culture I've experienced (and yes... I'm from the south). What I noticed most is that traveling to places that will push you experience culture shocks is the only way to actually learn about those cultures. I urge every single reader to go somewhere that has a bad connotation in the US and actually find out for yourself. It will definitely surprise you how many of those places will be your favorites.