Tales From The Road

 In Cultural Immersion

You’re home.  It’s bittersweet.  Your time as an ESL student abroad was filled with so many memories.  You learned English in the US, made friends with your American classmates, and travelled around your host country.  It was an exciting time.  Friends and family back home really do want to hear your stories.  Think about what you want to tell them.  You have some great stories to share.

The Excitement In The Everyday

 Remember who your audience is.  Maybe your listener has never traveled anywhere, let alone the US.  You don’t have to be telling a story of wrestling a bear to have their attention.  The everyday in a different culture can be surprising, and make for riveting story telling.  Maybe you couldn’t believe that everyone tipped the cashier at the local cafe?  Make your story funny.  Tell how the person never even steps from the register, barely punches the keys, or smiles, and people STILL fill the tip jar everyday.  Or, maybe you were treated to an impromptu pet parade?  Dogs of all sorts being walked around your neighborhood, some dressed in outfits any baby would look adorable in.

What about describing in detail how giant and well stocked the local American grocery stores are.  Or, how people line up single file to get into popular venues.  Tell stories that illustrate the differences between the American culture and your own.  Use lots of detail and description.  The more your stories point out the contrasts in culture the more interested people will be.

You’ll hear lots of—“no’s”, “whys”, and “really”?  You know you’ve got them when they can’t help but chime in with questions, or expressions of disbelief.

You And The Bear 

What about wrestling that bear?  Did you do something extraordinary?  Maybe you have a video of a tandem skydive, or photos from a surfing trip.  Show your photos and videos to your friends, and family while you give the color commentary, and blow by blow.

Your time as a study abroad student was filled with stories of everyday adventure as an ESL student, and extraordinary adventure.  Share your travel stories with family and friends back home, and the world at large.  You’ll inspire them to dream beyond their own borders.

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