25 Signs that You’re a True Citizen of the World

You may think you’re a seasoned, worldly traveler but are you really? Check out these 25 signs that you’re a true citizen of the world!

I’d love to define myself as a citizen of the world but, frankly, I’m a long way off.

Some people, on the other hand, roam around the planet identifying not with any one nation but with the world itself.



Are you one of these people? Test yourself on these 25 signs that you’re a true citizen of the world!

1. You know about global disasters within minutes

2. Your National Geographic collection is taking on a life of its own

3. You never enter a country without at least 5 phrases in the native tongue

4. You have a good friend on every continent

5. You’ve eaten the same animal you once had as a pet

6. You rarely stay in any one country for more than 3 months straight

7. You don’t use guide books but just figure it out when you get there

8. You make friends in the street

9. You make friends in the sea

10. You make friends on top of mountains

11. You’ve worked for at least one international NGO

12. You’ve taught English to kids somewhere in the world at some point

13. When you see tourists from your native country abroad, you hide

14. You’ve been bitten/stung by at least one scary insect/animal

15. You’ve feared for your life on several occasions

16. You’ve never been to the Hamptons

17. Your lucky sandals have holes in the soles

18. You’ve been invited for dinner in families’ homes all over the world

19. You sleep best under the stars

20. You know that couch surfing has nothing to do with waves

21. Your iPod has songs on it from every UN member state

22. Your favorite author is not from your native country

23. You take photos… and print them

24. When people talk about celebrities you feel dazed and confused

25. You sometimes forget where you came from

How did you score?? Are you a true citizen of the world? Post up your comments below and let us know!!

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48 thoughts on “25 Signs that You’re a True Citizen of the World”

  1. I didn’t score so well…I guess living a life of constant travel means you’re too disconnected for 1 and don’t have storage space for 2 and don’t really plan enough for 3 … Oh well, another day, another quiz.

  2. Hmm, not so bad. With regards to point 3, my 5 phrases in the native tongue always consist of ‘Hello’, ‘Goodbye’ ‘Please’, ‘Thank You’, and ‘Beer’. And these are sometimes mixed together! ;)

  3. Thought I was going to rank poorly when I read the first two but then pulled ahead with the rest of the questions. Like the Travel Tart, I focus on a few key phrases, although “where is the bathroom” and “I need water” are a lot more important to me than knowing how to say beer in 50 languages! ;-)

  4. Barbara — I find that I learning to say ‘beer’ in any language is quickly followed by learning to say ‘where is the bathroom’!

  5. I agree with Barbara… didn’t do well on the first two but made up for it with the rest. I just made some friends in the sea this past weekend, in fact, although it happened to be in my home state! :)

  6. I’m about middling on the list though I always like to learn a few phrases and can still count to ten and say “thank you” in a great chunk of languages even if I can hardly speak another word of them. Entertaining list – I particularly like the point of eating something you once had as a pet (though I’ve never had budgerigar).

  7. Hmm, I didn’t score well either. I love seeing other Canadians when I am on the road. I haven’t eaten anything that I have had as a pet and I don’t collect National Geographics. I actually don’t own any. But I love your post! We all have our own experiences while traveling and I love to hear how others go about their travels. Great fun list, cheers!

  8. #26 you are a pretentious idiot, and your “friends” from other countries are really just being polite because they know you are trying, but when you leave, they probably just think that hanging out with you is awkward.

  9. 5. You’ve eaten the same animal you once had as a pet

    How does this make you a “Citizen of the World”? More like “Citizen of Alabama”. Being backwards isn’t the same as being globally minded.

    19. You sleep best under the stars

    Once again, being a hippie doesn’t equate to being a global citizen. I also rolled my eyes at the mention of sandals. So the fact that I am much more interested in exploring foreign cities and enjoy my tennis shoes makes me more… what? non-global?

    16. You’ve never been to the Hamptons

    Who has really ever been to the Hamptons? It’s on the same level as Mt. Olympus to me. This one just seems to be there to exclude rich people. Shallow.

    20. You know that couch surfing has nothing to do with waves

    It would be a really undereducated person indeed who didn’t know what couch surfing was.

    24. When people talk about celebrities you feel dazed and confused

    What if your friends are from countries where they really care about celebrity? Personally, I am totally uninterested in it, but you cannot walk two feet in Taiwan or Japan without having a tabloid in your face, often depicting as many American celebrities as Asian.

    “boner doner”‘s suggestion for 26 is rude but it does make a point about the “world traveler archetype” that I’ve noticed. The lot can really be pretentious. Never lose your nationality, that’s my advice. It’s how the rest of the world will define you when you travel so you may as well take the good and the bad that that implies. I find myself explaining a lot that, yes I’m American, but NO I don’t drink and I don’t like to hook up with lots of women. The moment you resent the country of your birth is the moment you truly fail at everything in life. I’m not patriotic, but I’m American. I’m not interested in the politics of my own country as much as I am the politics of the world, but I still care about my country and am proud of my own culture, even with its gaping flaws (made all the more obvious when comparing America with other countries).

    I like lists like this, I really do, but I hope we all keep our heads here. I really like to consider myself a global citizen, but I wouldn’t put that before my nation, simply because the world wouldn’t give me the same courtesy. To them I’ll always be an American, and I’ll always be vilified no matter how many countries I volunteer in, how many times I vote independent or democrat, how much money I donate, how many languages I speak… I’ll still be the party-seeking undereducated white supremacist American. I am not what they say I am, but I am American, and I truly can’t change that.

  10. I kinda agree with Moji’s comments but I have much snobbish opinions.
    To me, the entire list looked more like a “25 signs that you’re a penniless traveler with more romantic ideals than common sense”.

    By all means get me wrong, but being a citizen of the world doesn’t necessarily mean you have to travel the world à la Indiana Jones. Can you give yourself some glamour? Can you permit yourself a bit of etiquette before setting foot on a new country?

    I’m by no means a seasoned or frequent traveler, but when I DO travel I prefer to visit urban areas, museums and antique buildings than hiking to the middle of nowhere to take a glimpse at the decadent cultural remains of a long forgotten tribe.

    When I’m home, I like learning languages so I can understand their literary works, history and culture… not so much their street slang (though you end up learning that as well).

    Okay, I can’t truthfully say I didn’t score one or two points:

    3. You never enter a country without at least 5 phrases in the native tongue.

    Either I learn their language at a decent level or bring an interpreter to avoid looking/sounding stupid. A passport and visa also help a lot. X-D

    13. When you see tourists from your native country abroad, you hide.

    Mexicans traveling abroad aren’t famous for being well-behaved… much less when encountering fellow countrymen. Besides, what’s the use of traveling abroad if you “feel at home”?

    22. Your favorite author is not from your native country.

    Gee, sorry, I didn’t mean to read British literature. :-p
    Though some contemporary American writers aren’t that bad either… ^_^

    24. When people talk about celebrities you feel dazed and confused

    Yes, I’m a nerd… *shrugs*

    I would love to end this rant with a bang and a flourish, but how can I without sounding cheesy or pedantic? So…

    [Insert non-cheesy bang and flourish here]

  11. Haha, this is great! While I can’t say that I fit all of them, I come pretty close!!! What an honor to be considered a “citizen of the world.”

  12. To be a cosmopolitan – a citizen of the world – in my experience you need only the following things. First, know 10 words in the local language: Yes, No, Please, Thank you, Sorry, Help, Police, Excuse me, I’m……….. (insert your nationality). Next, speak one of the world’s three most common languages. Further, keep your wits about you and remember you are not at home – RESPECT THEIR WAYS! And most important of all… from everything I’ve seen and heard… never forget this: everyone everywhere (and I mean, everywhere), bleeds the same, laughs the same and cries the same.

  13. extremely pretentious, how can you test something like this with 25 points. ridiculous. I don’t know who’s worse the author or the people patting themselves on the back in the comment section.

  14. I love it! Very well written.

    I still have a lot of roads to travel but I have to agree with many of your points. You don’t get the real experience of a country while in museums or art galleries or on top of the capital’s highest building. The real culture is found on the streets, conversing with the locals, and eating unidentifiable food.

    Might I add dog is pretty flavorful.

  15. This is one of the more offensive, American-centric lists I have ever seen. You’ve eaten the same animal you once had as a pet? You’ve taught English? All of this assumes that in order to be a citizen of the world, you have to be an English speaker who started out in the kind of environment where people keep pets. When you see tourists from your own country, you hide? This is where Stuff White People Like gets its material. This list even assumes you own an ipod. The worst part of it is that this is supposed to be a list about striving to become a “world citizen,” and yet it could not be more firmly rooted in assumptions of a background of privilege and monochromatic experience–and ostensibly totally unaware of that.

  16. I’m not what you’d call a world traveler or a “citizen of the world” as the case may be, but I did answer affirmatively to 10 of the 25 criteria. For not having that title as a goal in any way, shape, or form, I’d say I’m pretty happy with that.

  17. Sadly I’ve gotten too old to be a true traveler of the world. No backpack couch surfing or Ipod for this ole gal but I can at least reply yes to over half of em.

  18. the phrase “citizen of the world” is unbelievably pretentious. as is this list. i swear some people travel just to say they travel and to write about it on their stupid travel blog. nobody cares that you think you’re well cultured and well traveled.

  19. hehe that´s so true!!.. Scored 100 % ;).. Just don´t understand how eating the animal you had as your pet makes you a citizen of the world?

  20. i generally dont write on these things, but to be honest this list sucks and has nothing to do with being a traveler or as you put it “world citizen” whatever the hell that means. You Mrs Sorene, need to do some more (or actual traveling) and realize it really has nothing to with any of this….

  21. #13 . When you see tourists from your native country abroad, you hide

    I totally agree, actually, when I see other “foreigners” (read as whire people, I’m in China, where the word foreigner means only white people) I get away from them asap as not to be associated with them… then i wonder, why did i just do that…?

    #15. You’ve feared for your life on several occasions

    Feared only when having an altercation withlocal cops in both Mexico and China. The Chinese on included a full “interrogation”

    #2. Your National Geographic collection is taking on a life of its own
    #23. You take photos… and print them
    REALLY!?!?!?!? Who wrote this? You obviously never travel… in this day and age EVERYTHING is digital, how can one lug pix and mags around with them?



    #21. Your iPod has songs on it from every UN member state

    Why would you have digital music in a small easy to carry device when you have craploads of printed, environmentally detrimental magazines and photos in your suitcase…

    you guys are really weird…

    Next time, get someone who knows what they’re talking about…

    PLUS, I have been to the hamptons, several times. They are nice people…

    ohhh you mean in NYC, well… SUPRISE there IS a world outside the USA, and the HAMPTONS has existed as a family name for a lot longer than a no name area that no one really cares about.

  22. Moji
    5. You’ve eaten the same animal you once had as a pet

    How does this make you a “Citizen of the World”? More like “Citizen of Alabama”. Being backwards isn’t the same as being globally minded.

    I’ll help.

    I’ve eaten Rabbit in Greece, and Dog in both the Philippines and Dong Bei China. Haven’t ventured to Cat yet…

    What they are trying to say is… there are animals we’d hold as friends, that would be food in other countries… Imagine a person from India when they see beef consumption, especially in the US and Canada.

    I’ve eaten gator in New Orleans, and that makes the Chiense queasy (along with Venison, which is perfectly normal in the Canadian rockies)

    Maybe that makes me from Alabama. Whatever that means. I had a wonderful breakfast in Birmingham, Alabama which consisted of Eggs, Bacon, Grits, Toast, Pancakes and the like… Maybe you consider Chickens your friends, which is fair enough… I had a pet chicken when I was a kid as well… We ate her eggs every day.

  23. I didn’t rate very high either. I have eaten many animal parts living where I do, however I don’t eat pets. I have eaten Yak, which is a hairy high-altitude cow. Most folks in China no longer eat dogs, cats, or hamsters. I’ve been teaching English and living in China for 9 of the last 12 years. I realized I had finally acculturated to my adopted country, when one day in a pharmacy, while back in the states with a fever I was looking for medicine. I kept thinking and caught myself almost speaking in Mandarin. I actually had to interpret back into English.
    Re: #13. When you see tourists from your native country abroad, you hide.
    Actually, we who have been living overseas for a while do notice “tourist” from our native countries, and make a few jokes. Our mannerisms must have been altered living overseas, because American tourists appear to talk rather loudly and seem demanding, expecting everything to to work like it did “back home.” Those of us who have been here a while have learned to relax and “go with the flow”.

  24. Scored decently well, but would love to work for an international NGO!! All my experiences looking into this went nowhere though. Any good leads out there anyone?

  25. The key is to step outside your comfort zone and spend time being a citizen of the world. No one expects you to forget your American identity, but understand that these nationalistic ideals are social constructions. My book, Citizen of the World a Guide to Adventure and Self discovery is my experience of leaving my comfort zone, and learning about the world. I learned about my self, as well as other cultures. This made me realize that we are all connected, and thus all citizens of the world. Don’t be so naive to believe that you are strictly American or French, we are more than our social constructions. If this is interesting for you, check out my website https://citizenofd.world/

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