Thousands are travelling overseas to explore new countries every day. There is a run-up of excitement making sure everything you might need is packed. Then all the various practical arrangements are made for the journey.
How many however, specifically seek to understand something of the language and culture of the countries being visited? Geographical contours will change as will climate, flora and fauna. However, many intrepid explorers are seemingly unaware of the immense changes they will encounter in cultural differences. Discovering something of the potential richness of such variations can be an immense enrichment to the vacation. Also being, to some degree, aware of the underlying principles of anthropology can enrich the trip.
Is there room for a quality orientation session?
This could be creatively and thoughtfully planned by folk from the host cultures as well as people who have spent time overseas in their professions etc. Such events could be great fun as well as being very informative. Yes, the Internet can yield much information and visual impact. However, it cannot replace the personal experience of the cuisines and customs within a particular country.
It seems such a sad loss that folk travel thousands of miles and then continue to live mainly within their own cultural bubble. The adventure of tasting new dishes, new fruits etc as well as experiencing/ observing other ways of living and interacting with their fellow neighbours is a wonderful one.
Recall welcoming a new couple to a new culture so years back. As they walked down the gangway my mind was highly active. They looked like picture-book newly weds from the Sates. I wondered just how they would adjust to a totally different life-style. The husband was very intuitive and asked if he might join me for a few days in the mountain home in a rural village that I had used to adjust to the culture. I thought this was an excellent suggestion and his awareness of the new culture increased rapidly. He could then start to relate effectively to his new neighbours and friends.
If you have ideas and suggestions how such orientation could be organised then let us know. Maybe you have experienced such a course and can share about it with us.
I’m sure there are many permutations on this theme…