What to expect

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James Michener

Hindu Temple - Singapore
If you are traveling to a foreign country, the first thing to keep in mind is it’s different from the US. Language, culture, food and accommodations will not match what we have in the States. Not everyone speaks even a modicum of English. However, in most cases people are obliging; they will go out of their way to help a traveler. If you want to make a good impression, know a few words in the language of the country you are visiting: please, thank you, pardon me, hello, good-bye make interactions more pleasant. Speaking a few words badly is better than making no effort at all. Unless you are in a very small town people younger than 40 years may have enough English to communicate basic information. A really good resource is BKYI 4 Express, free language learning software; with some work you can become conversational in common languages. And, of course, there are translations apps for your phone.

People in foreign countries walk and take public transportation. Along with your phone’s GPS, you’ll probably want a good map and guide book. This is where obliging people can be important. Pointing to a place on a map and looking lost will usually get you where you want to go.

In most countries, people dress more formally than in the US. Americans have the reputation of being slobs, and unfortunately when compared to people in many other countries, we are. Raggedy jeans, T-shirts with holes, and nasty shoes won’t do. While you don’t have dress up, you do have to neaten up; nice jeans, good T-shirts and well-made shoes are more acceptable. Be sure that you know what sort of dress might be offensive and in what circumstances you need to be circumspect in your attire.

Americans are loud. Conversations are much quieter in other countries. You may actually have to strain to hear normal conversations with native speakers, and you will get used to the closer proximity of people when they speak.

©2013 NearNormal Design and Production Studio - All rights including copyright of photographs and designs, as well as intellectual rights are reserved.