The Amazing Race is known for pushing contestants out of their comfort zone and exposing them to different cultures and traditions around the globe. But in addition to the traveling and running from one clue to the next, there are some types of challenges that are truly culturally enriching for contestants.
Skydiving, bungee jumping and paragliding are, as it is, enriching life experiences. But to do it in a foreign country, trusting guides who speak a different language, and getting aerial views of countries like Chile, Argentina, or Zambia is another story.
Challenges in developing countries always provide insight on what the lives and jobs of the locals look like, and they are usually physically and mentally exhausting. In a Chinese workshop, teams had to sew a collar T-shirt. In Vietnam, contestants had to catch 20 fish and cook them in order to get their next clue. In Paraguay, they had to carefully stack watermelons into a huge pyramid. In Seychelles, teams had to load a pile of coconuts into a cart which an ox then pulled to deliver the coconuts to a fruit merchant. These types of challenges often trigger meltdowns and fights among within teams.
Challenges that require contestants to dress in traditional costumes also add to the full experience of visiting a country. They often have to dance or sing in these costumes, and then they have to keep the costumes for following challenges, making it harder to run an easier to sweat.
Food challenges are always tough. From eating grilled cobra in Indonesia, to duck fetuses (or baluts) in Australia, contestants have tasted the delicacies of foreign countries. But it is never an easy feat. In a detour in Japan, contestants had to eat wasabi bombs in less than two minutes, and keep trying if they didn’t succeed.
The final leg of the race always involves a challenge where contestants are forced to think back and remember elements from all nine countries they visited over the course of the race. This makes the contestants come full circle and recap on their trip around the world before the final stretch towards the million dollars. Sometimes it is as simple as remembering the countries’ flags, and sometimes it is much harder. One time they had to remember the name of the currency from each country they had visited, and another time they had to remember how to say “hello” in each country’s language.
Even watching The Amazing Race from the comfort of your couch is a culturally enriching experience, because it teaches the viewer about each country and culture through the contestants’ adventures. Tune in for the all new season on Fridays at 8/7c.