While absorbed in life’s joys and sorrows, traveling to a different country can be truly eye opening for some. Traveling expands a person’s horizons and introduces them to the unique cultures of other places. A survey was sent out in January to the faculty of Bonneville, and they were asked about their experiences with other countries. The following are just a few of the answers to the questions that were received.
Based on the responses, some educators have been to all sorts of places around the world, while some traveled to just one foreign country. When asked about the purposes behind why they traveled there, many were along the lines of religious missions, academic reasons, and vacations. A few answers that stood out were Mr. Dresen, who teaches a variety of fine arts courses, has traveled to attend musical events like the World Choral Symposium (organized every three years in a variety of places), and Mr. Piper, the US history, military history, and cold war teacher, was a lifeguard in Saudi Arabia. For those who saw a variety of places, their answers were quite informative. Mr. Pyper, who teaches freshman history and mythology, lived in Italy for a while. “This list would be very long because while in Italy, I lived in Rome, Florence, Naples, and on the island of Sardinia. I can say I saw everything in Italy.” He goes on to say about how that trip was what got him interested in teaching world history.
Visiting a new country introduces plenty of new cultural traditions. In terms of food, many of the responses spoke about how they enjoyed the meals, while some described dishes that did not quite appeal to them at first, but grew to love some of them. When asked about culture shocks while in those places, Mr. Piper described his as such: “Waking up on the airplane going to Arabia and all the passengers had switched into their traditional Arab clothing, men in white robes and women in black dresses and covered faces.” Piper also says that he was almost arrested due to disrupting a shop owner before prayer time. Language moreover plays a big part in the experience of it all. Ms. Hinson, one of the school counselors, learned Portuguese in Brazil, and that later helped them learn some other languages. “In Europe, Portuguese helped me pick up more manners and conversational phrases in French and Italian when visiting.”
There were two final questions at the end of the interviews. The first being what their favorite souvenirs from those places were. Many bought items, ranging from clothing articles to small items such as miniature versions of landmarks. A few responded that their memories were much more valuable than any tangible item. The second question was if they would go to those places again or if they would recommend it to someone else. Many said they would, some already planning another trip somewhere, like Mrs. Coffield who is preparing for a German-American exchange program in 2024. A few said no to specifically traveling to the Middle East areas due to the conflicts and not traveling there at this time.
Thank you to the educators who were willing to take the time to answer in the interview, both those who were quoted in the article and those who were not. Traveling gives exposure to cultures that share the earth together, and helps gain an understanding of each other. Stepping outside of what someone calls home is quite the challenge. Perhaps the journey will be worth the struggle in the end when the traveler can tell their exciting adventures to those around them, either in present times or in the future.