5 Top Tips for New Travellers

5 Top Tips for New Travellers

I am at a cash machine in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Day One of a two-week vacation with my brother. He's just finished getting cash out, and now it's my turn to stock up. 

I put my debit card in, then spend some time doing mental calculations of the currency conversion rates to figure out how much Vietnamese dong I should get out. I take the cash and quickly...

If You Want to Learn English...

My Year 3s were practicing the modal verb "should" in class one day, so we practiced giving advice for different situations. For a group discussion, I asked them: If you want to learn English, what should you do? They came up with some great answers. If you want to learn English, you should*...

  • memorize a lot of words and Idoms.
  • practice pronunciation.
  • recite vocabulary.
  • memorize many word phrases.
  • do preview, review.
  • try to copy native speaker's pronunciation.
  • study English and Korean grammar.
  • learn English hard in the school.
  • hearing teacher's talking.
  • prepare for the next English class.
  • listen to what the teacher says.
  • be interested in the class.
  • not chatting with your friends.
  • participate during class.
  • go Academy (cram school)
  • quiet in the classroom.
  • pay attention during class.
  • do the class activities.
  • do the homework hardly.
  • read English newspaper.
  • listen to English CDs.
  • watch English channels on TV.
  • watch the CNN channel or animation (like shimpsons (?))
  • play English game.
  • read a lot of English books!
  • watch English movie without translation.
  • listen to English songs.
  • listen English very much.
  • read books about English.
  • speaking English.
  • have English talk time.
  • try to write things in English.
  • write down important things.
  • be friends with people who speak English well.
  • do penpal with another country friends.
  • meet lots of foreign people.
  • try to talk to foreign people.
  • go to foreign countries.
  • go abroad.
  • go to America.
  • speak louder.
  • be brave to use English.
  • try to like learning English.
  • have a positive attitude.
  • get a confidence.
  • do effort always.

* Taken directly from my students' work, mistakes and notations included!

Travelling & Speaking the Local Language

No man should travel until he has learned the language of the country he visits. Otherwise he voluntarily makes himself a great baby — so helpless and so ridiculous.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson


If I followed his advice, I would miss out on half the adventures, half the chaos, half the fun.

But Mr. Emerson does have a point.

While it makes travelling more difficult, it also could make it more valuable. It's (sometimes unfortunately) really easy to visit and even live in Seoul without knowing Korean. But there are times I wish I could communicate deeper with people. I'm lucky; my friends from work are able to translate a lot of their and other's conversations for me. But there's more to communication that just simple translations. It's meanings. It's understanding what's not being said. That's what I'm missing.

Tips for My Sister's Arrival to Ghana

Hey Laura!

Alrighty, a few things about your trip: 1) Try not to bring white clothes, it's really dusty and dirty so white isn't exactly practical. 2) How much money are you bringing? 3) I'm probably going to have to spend the first few days hanging out in Accra so I can register for classes, then we can travel around. 4) Bring a book because there will be a lot of waiting time and you'll want something to read/do. 5) Don't bring anything valuable, like watch or jewellery, except for a camera---there have been lots of thefts unfortunately so it is something to consider, but a camera is just a necessary risk that you have to take.

That's all I can think of for right now, love you and can't wait for next week! XOXO