Global Updates From World View
May 2010


Preparing for International Travel


In many European countries you are supposed to wear your shoes indoors, but in others, such as Bulgaria, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, Ukraine, and Turkey it is inconsiderate not to remove your shoes.


World View hopes that you will travel internationally this summer.  Traveling to another country not only lets us explore sites, languages, and political and economic systems different from our own but it also helps us to see and appreciate similarities and differences among cultures.  We are citizens of not just our own country, but of a diverse world.   As educators, you also have a unique opportunity to impact and influence your students and how they think about the world.  When you return from your trip, please share your adventure with your students and colleagues in thoughtful ways.  Help them both explore another country through your experience. 

This issue of Global Updates gives practical advice for preparing for your international trip and some suggestions for making your trip a more powerful learning experience.  We’ve also included some ideas for how you can bring your travel experience back to the classroom

When you return from your trip, consider sharing your travels and how you will incorporate your experience into your teaching.  Send World View your story, and we will try to publish it in a future newsletter!

10 Tips to Get Ready for International Travel and Making the Most of Your Trip
  1. Get your passport (!  Passports are required for

    In Thailand the head is considered to be sacred and touching the top of it is highly insulting, even for children.

    international travel and some countries also require U.S. citizens to obtain visas before entering. Check with the embassy of the foreign country that you are planning to visit for current visa and other entry requirements.

  2. Set a personal goal.  What do you expect to gain from your travel experience?  Consider setting an overall goal for the trip and then daily goals based on what you will be seeing and doing that day.  Challenge yourself to try new things and meet new people!

  3. Educate yourself about the politics, economics, histories, cultures of the places you will be visiting and then make a plan.  Whether it’s through a guidebook, other nonfiction sources, the Internet, or even historical fiction novels, read about the places you will visit, and then go beyond the book.  Listen to music and watch a movie or two from the country.  What sort of topics or issues or incidence in history do you want to learn more about or see while you are there?  Develop an itinerary with lots of flexibility.  Have a list of places you want to see, but also build in some time for the unexpected side trips or perhaps even an impromptu visit to a local village to take part in a wine making festival.

  4. Be prepared.  Know your itinerary and who to call if you run into any problems.  Before you leave, register with the U.S. Embassy in the country you are traveling.  This can be done ahead of time through:   Also, call your credit card companies and alert them of your travel plans.  This will prevent your cards from being blocked while trying to use them overseas.  Always leave a photocopy of your itinerary and airline ticket or e-ticket, your passport, your credit card information, including numbers to call if a card is lost or stolen with a friend or relative at home.  Also check to see if there are any travel warnings or alerts.  The U.S. government provides up-to-date information on immediate health and safety issues for each country.  Please visit: before you leave home.

  5. Pack lightly and leave the valuables at home.  Avoid excess airline baggage fees and the burden heavy bags.   Pack clothes that can be worn multiple times and easily washed in a bathroom sink.  Before you go, read up on local customs and what the weather will be like.  Are

    Many hand gestures that are acceptable in the U.S., including the "OK" symbol, thumbs up, or the "V" for victory or peace sign are considered rude, or even vulgar in some countries.

    shorts appropriate where you are going?  Should your arms be covered?  Women should pack a headscarf, particularly if you plan on visiting houses of worship. 

    Don’t take anything you’d hate to lose.  Clean out your wallet and leave behind any unnecessary credit cards, library cards, membership or frequent buyer cards, and your social security card.  Consider bringing two different types of credit cards (master card and visa, for example) and keep them in different places.  Do bring plenty of cash and any usable credit or debit bank cards, and of course your passport.  Pack extra cash and other valuable documents or cards in a money belt worn under your clothes.

  6. Be flexible and adaptable.  Things will not be the same as home.  From the very beginning you will go through culture shock and a possible time change.  It will take some getting used to.  Your “schedule”, if you had one, will be “off”.  Meal times and customs may be different than the U.S.  For example, in many countries lunch is the main meal of the day.  Dinner is eaten later and is typically lighter fare, unlike the U.S. where dinner is usually the main meal. Remember that business hours may be different, so be prepared if a stop at a local bank was part of your itinerary for the day.  The concept of “time” as we know it may also be different. 
  7. Try new things, including food.  Open up your mind for experiencing new sites, sounds, smells, and tastes.  Don’t get excited when you see a McDonalds.  Instead, investigate whether there is a local equivalent or look for a local family-run restaurant.  It is more exciting and respectful to your hosts if you are willing to try their foods. 

  8. Learn and use the language.  Or at least a few words and phrases.

    Time is fluid in the Middle East and Latin America, but if you're traveling to Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, or the U.K., punctuality is a sign of professionalism.

      Even if you don’t get the pronunciation right, your hosts will appreciate the effort.  Be sure to learn how to say hello, goodbye, please, thank you, yes, and no in the local language.  If you don’t know how to say something, just ask! 

  9. Be forewarned: the “facilities” may be different.  The idea of a porcelain toilet and sink are not universal.  Depending on where you are traveling, bathrooms can be anything from a “western” style toilet to an outhouse to a hole in the ground.  You may even have trouble finding the bathroom.  Also, in many countries you may find attendants who “help” you while using the restroom. Perhaps they hand you a towel to dry your hands or offer a shot of hairspray.  Please note that tips can be expected.  And in many places you may have to pay to use a bathroom, so always be prepared with a few bills or coins of the local currency in your pocket.  Bonus tip: Keep a couple of tissues handy, as toilet paper is also not universal.

  10. Blend in with the locals.  As the old adage says, when in Rome and you know the rest.  As a tourist, it can be easy to stand out in the crowd, but is this what you really want while traveling abroad?  It may bring unwanted attention and make you a target for thieves or scam artists.  While traveling abroad always be alert, act confidently, and as though you know what you are doing and where you are going, even if this is not the case.  Watch how the locals act and dress.  Remember that you are the guest.  Be courteous and cautious not to speak too loudly.  Wear simple and muted colors and avoid at all costs wearing a fanny pack and a large camera around your neck!   
How to Bring the Travel Experience Back to Your Classroom

Travel to a foreign country is both invigorating and exhausting.  You will come back excited to share what you have seen and learned with everyone around you.  How can you turn this into a learning experience for your students? 


It is rude to use your chopsticks to spear food, point at someone, or to move the bowl closer to you. It is also poor manners to cross your chopsticks or rest them on opposite sides of the plate, or worst of all, never stick your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice. This mimics a Japanese funeral rite, when chopsticks and rice are left by the bedside of the newly deceased.


First, using photographs, videos, and other artifacts collected from your trip, help your students find similarities with the things they are seeing with what they see and do in their daily life.  Compare clothing, food, architecture, activities, modes of transportation, religion, and more.  Don’t focus on the exotic, but on the everyday.  After you have talked about what’s the same, discuss what may be different and why.

Did you make new friends while traveling?  Personal contacts can help connect you to a school in another country.  Think of ways your students can “meet” students in a classroom across the world.  Using technology, your students can communicate and collaborate with students abroad.  Not only can student learn about each other’s home towns, schools, cultures, traditions, and daily lives, but also think of projects that the students can work on together. 

Focus your shopping efforts while traveling and collect items to create a cultural artifact kit for your school.  These kits contain tangible items from a foreign country and can be used to make learning about a region of the world more exciting.  Kits should present a snapshot of ordinary life in the country or a look into its past.  Think of items that are a cultural universal for the country or region you are traveling in and make sure they fit in your bag and are legal (not an antiquity or made from an endangered species) to transport back to the U.S.! 

After you collect the items, be sure to write a short paragraph or two about what it is and why it is significant.  Think about how the item is used in the culture and what value it has to the people who use it.  Is it readily available?  Is it only used for special occasions?  Artifacts, when used properly, can help dispel stereotypes.  Suggestions for items to collect include:

  • Clothing (such as a typical school uniform, a t-shirt from a local club or sports team, and traditional clothes)
  • Small toys or games
  • photographs (of people of all ages, homes, buildings, streets, food, street signs, schools, celebrations, people going about everyday activities)
  • books (particularly children’s books)
  • tools or utensils
  • menus, maps, local advertisements
  • magazines or newspaper
  • crafts or handiwork
  • money, stamps, bus or train tokens or tickets
  • CDs of music
  • candy or gum, or packaging of locally made or distributed food
  • small stone (particularly if it is from a special place)

Once you return home, put all of the items and their summaries in a decorated box.  Use this in your classroom and be sure to share with colleagues!

Internet Resources

GoAbroad:    A website with directories of international education and experiential travel resources, including study abroad, internships, volunteer opportunities, teach abroad, language schools and much more.

Global Volunteers: Global Volunteers is a private, non-profit organization engaging short-term volunteers on micro-economic and human development programs in close partnership with local people worldwide.

World Citizens Guide:  A site to help U.S. travelers abroad prepare for being responsible and receptive to international experiences and people.

Travel Section, New York Times:  Good travel information and wonderful photographs.

Cultural Gaffes, Beyond Your Borders:  Avoid embarrassing cultural mishaps and view this video before you travel.

Are You An Ugly American?   See how to be the best cultural ambassador for the U.S. as possible.

Virtual Tourist:  A comprehensive well-known site with travel advice, forums, message boards, links, and more.

Top 20 iPhone Travel Apps:   National Geographic reviewed dozens of applications and gives their top 20 to consider loading to your iPhone before you leave home.

World View November 2009 Global Update: International Summer Opportunities for Educators:

Just for Fun!

SeatGuru:    See exactly where your seat is located on the plane and what amenities you could enjoy in flight. This site helps locate the best and worst seats, considering factors such as seat width, seat pitch, seating plan, seat configuration, legroom, and proximity to restrooms and more to determine overall seating comfort

Airline Meals:   The site provides images of meals from more than 500 airlines, as well as the latest news and trends in the airline food industry.

Do you have information to share?

Do you have information that you would like to share with other educators across the state? You are welcome to submit interesting global education programs that are going on in your schools, announcements about global education seminars, new resources that others might find interesting, etc. Please email Julie at with your "update-worthy" items!

Reader Mailbag

If you have comments about any of the information contained in the Global Update, send us an email! Perhaps your comments will appear here in this new section of the Global Update.

World View at UNC-Chapel Hill provides information, resources, and announcements for educational purposes only. It does not represent an endorsement of organizations or point of view by World View or The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Register Now!



OCTOBER 20-21, 2010
for K-12 educators

NOVEMBER 9-10, 2010
for community college educators

For more information, or
to register go to:

Duke University
Summer Institutes on East Asia
June 24 and June 25, 2010
Nasher Museum of Art

These one-day programs provide educators with materials that address curriculum requirements for teaching about China, Japan and Korea. Space is limited, and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Educators attending the institutes will have the opportunity to explore the art exhibit, “Displacement: The Three Gorges Dam and Contemporary Chinese Art” which will provide a launching point for rich exploration of current issues and trends in China. Participants will learn more about Chinese contemporary visual culture and what it can tell us about China’s present, past, and future. Resource sessions will also introduce materials to enhance classroom instruction about East Asia.

Elementary and Middle School Educators
Thursday, June 24, 2010, 8:30am-5:00pm, The Nasher Museum of Art,
Duke University
Elementary and Middle school educators are invited to attend this program where materials and sessions will explore content and curriculum appropriate for grades K-6 and include more hands-on art material.

Middle and High School Educators

Friday, June 25, 2010, 8:30am-5:00pm, The Nasher Museum of Art,
Duke University
Middle and Secondary school educators are invited to attend this program where materials and sessions will explore content and curriculum appropriate for grades 7-12.
Institute participants receive:
1. Ready-to-use materials and lesson plans for classroom use with tie-ins to NC Standard Course of Study
2. $100 stipend
3. 7.5 credit hours, with the opportunity to receive 1 CEU
4. Continental breakfast, lunch and snack
5. Duke parking permit for the day
REGISTRATION FEE: There is a $25 NON-REFUNDABLE registration fee to attend this institute. (The net stipend is $75 since you will need to pay $25 in advance to reserve a space.) Space is limited and fills quickly on a first-come, first-served basis.
**NOTE: Middle school is indicated in the school type for each program. We suggest middle school teachers choose the program whose content best suits his or her teaching needs. Due to limited supply and strong demand, each educator may only apply for ONE institute. **

An online application is available at the link below:

Questions? Please contact Karla Loveall, Outreach Coordinator, Asian/Pacific Studies Institute, Duke University ( or 919-668-2280).


Global Citizen Corps Leadership Program for High School Students

Do you want to help address global challenges like poverty, hunger, conflict, climate change and access to education?

Global Citizen Corps is an international youth leadership program that brings students together to make a difference. Over one year, Leaders work with Mercy Corps staff to get the training and tools to raise awareness and organize effective local actions that make a global impact.

Global Citizen Corps is free, it’s fun and gives you the skills to make a difference! Be an inspiration. Real change happens one person at a time. 

Applying is easy. Visit to apply and learn more about what Global Citizen Corps is all about. 

The application deadline is May 15th for the Leadership Summit and June 15th for the program.


Rounded Rectangle: TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR ALL TRAVELERS  I.	Thou shalt not expect to find things as thou has them at home, for thou has left thou home to find things different.    II.	Thou shalt not take anything too seriously . . . for a carefree mind is the beginning of a good travel experience.    III.	Thou shalt not let the other group members get on my nerves . . . for thou are paying good money to have a fulfilling experience.    IV.	Remember thy passport and make sure that thou knowest where it is at all times for a person without a passport is a person without a country.    V.	Blessed is the person who can make change in any language . . . and lo, thou shall not be cheated.    VI.	Blessed is the person who can say thank you in any language . . . and it shall be worth more than many tips.    VII.	Thou shalt not worry for when thou worrieth, there is no pleasure.    VIII.	Thou shalt, when in Rome, do somewhat as the Romans do; if in difficulty thou shalt use common sense and friendliness.    IX.	Thou shalt not judge the people of a country by one person with whom thou has had trouble.    X.	Remember thou art a guest.  Treateth thy host with respect and thou shall be treated as an honored guest.

Advice for the 12 Year Old Traveler

Enjoy this humorous and practical blog post, written by the husband of a local Chapel Hill teacher, providing advice to a 12-year old about to embark on a two week trip to Europe. Click here to open the article as a pdf file.