I just love to travel! I love new cultures, sights, smells, sounds, foods, experiences, and of course new friends! For most people, the start of an adventure (especially one you signed up for) comes with a high level of excitement from all the “newness.”
But (and there is always a “but”), eventually the newness of a culture begins to fade and the very things that you once were enamored by may actually begin to drive you crazy. If you are not aware of it, you’ll soon feel the urge to avoid everything and everyone that is different. So here are 5 tips to help prepare you for a new culture this summer.
’m not saying you need to become an expert on the country (or countries) you plan to visit this summer, but having some understanding of the history and the general way of life will certainly prepare you for any differences in the culture. Google is your friend!
know it is hard to believe, but not everyone in the world speaks English. Though you may find an English speaker in public areas, there is a good chance you won’t off the beaten path. Knowing a few words in the local language will show respect to your audience and could open doors for you and your team.
Don’t be an Ugly American/Canadian (Westerner)
Common stereotypes of Westerners (especially Americans) is that we are loud, rude, boastful, wasteful, disrespectful, and immature. Your hosts know this because they watch movies and every American is that way –ha ha! As believers, we have an opportunity to accurately reflect true Christ-likeness to everyone we meet.
It’s Not Weird, It’s Different
Yes, you will see things that are just plain weird to you, but remember it is not weird to the locals. In fact, there is a good chance they’ve been doing it that way for centuries. How we do things back home is not the “right way” or the “normal way” of doing things, it’s just different.
Adopt the Mindset of a Learner
When we experience cultural differences we may feel frustration, confusion, tension, or embarrassment. Rather than criticizing, rationalizing, or withdrawing, you can adopt the mindset of a learner. Observing, listening, and inquiring will result in rapport and understanding.
Soon you’ll be on your very own cultural adventure and you’ll get to experience exactly what I’m talking about. I’m sure you can’t wait – me too!
TRAVEL HEALTH INSURANCE This is the most important of our forms to get to us right now as the deadline has past. Specifically, the Trip Cancellation / Interruption insurance has to be written weeks before you leave home (and costs roughly 5% of your flights). If you haven't sent this form in yet, you can email it to us this weekend and we will try to get the policies written in time (it may be too late for Nehemiah and Summer Staff, but we will still try if you send it in). I highly, highly, encourage you to get this add-on. If someone gets COVID before flying overseas or flying home, this will cover the expense of changing flights or getting a refund if flights have to be canceled. If you don't have this coverage, you will be responsible for any additional costs associated with flights being cancelled or changed (and with the costs of fuel currently, flight costs of increased a great deal too). You can email the form to email@example.com.
*Note: you do not need to get this insurance through us, you can get travel insurance through any carrier you'd like.
FORMS PAST DUE! Most of the forms that we sent you in your Prep Packet were due May 18th. Make sure to look through the material you were sent to be sure you don't miss a thing; especially the Reference Sheet.
Be careful to read through the forms and instructions carefully, pay special attention to what forms we can take copies of and which we HAVE to have the original document. If documents are filled out incorrectly, we may have to send them back to you to be redone. If you have questions about any of the forms, please contact us and we'll be happy to help!
My packing tip this week is: dryer sheets - specifically the good smelling kind. I like to take a dryer sheet (I'm a fan of the Gain ones because they're super fragrant), cut it into several 2 inch squares, and put one square in each ziplock that my clothes are packed in. There is something wonderful about opening a zippy of clothes smelling like home.
Along those same lines is the highly respected Zippy Surprise. The Zippy Surprise is a ziplock bag that contains a whole outfit (shirt, shorts, undergarments) that you put at the bottom of your pack. It is meant to be pulled out on a day where you just need a clean outfit that you haven't worn yet. I like to pull mine out during debriefing or on the last flight home.