Make a twitter account that you’ll use only for news and politics.
Step one: Follow all the politicians, diplomats, and public figures you’ve heard of (from your country, your country’s allies, and your country’s enemies, etc.) Follow those you haven’t heard of or forgot to search for through what twitter recommends.
That way, you can watch political discourse happen in real-time in 140 characters, become aware of the main headlines and debates without much effort.
Step two: Follow news accounts (local and international) from sources that represent your views and those who don’t. (I would recommend the major ones like CNN and BBC, as well as sources like the Intercept, the Atlantic, Fox news, Breitbart, RT, WSJ, the Economist, AJ+, Al Jazeera, New York Times, Guardian, Middle East Eye… a mix of everything both moderate and extreme)
That way you can see all the headlines from all the view points and only read in-depth the stories that really grab your attention.
Step three: Follow journalists and activists. You can find them through twitter suggestions, comments/replies, etc.
Dedicate 30 min — 1 hour daily to scrolling through your “politics” twitter to see what’s up, skimming through articles here and there. In a month you’ll be up to date and being up to date will become a habit. When there’s something big going on, click on the hashtag and check out the tweets about it.
If you really want to go the extra mile, you can follow political think tanks like the Brookings Institute where you can read more in-depth analyses.
As for understanding how your own country works, if you want to make that one-time effort and get a real picture once and for all, try taking a MOOC about introduction to political science or policy and governance (try coursera.org or edx). You could also see if MIT have anything on their open courseware. Or you could buy a university textbook (something like Politics by Andrew Heywood).
Before long you’ll be as politics-savvy as you need to be.
Hope this helps. I’m from Lebanon, a country that is supposed to be a democracy but is actually run by warlords from different sects who leave no room for change, activism, civil society, or independent political parties. Politics is something we have to be aware of because it has a huge and direct effect on our daily lives, both local politics and international. I used to long for the luxury of blissful ignorance, the luxury of not needing to know about everything happening in my country and the rest of the world. But lately I’ve discovered that no matter where you are, even in America or Europe, being aware of what governments are doing and how they work is invaluable.