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Transitions Abroad Magazine May/June Vol. XXVII, NO. 6

Information Exchange

Traveler’s Almanac

Independent Traveler
Interview with Alison Gardner Dr. Clay A. Hubbs
Journey Botswana Rob Sangster
Tenting in Europe Edward Newton
East African Etiquette Terrie Chilvers
Tip #8: Carry Few Valuables Jeff Goldman
Eat Where the Locals Eat Tim Leffel
A Bus Through Iberian History Richard Pierce
Latin America Trip Planner 2004, Mexico’s Arbol del Tule; Best Latin American Websites Ron Mader
The Ends of the Earth: Take a Bargain Trip to Tierra del Fuego David Rich
Brazil’s World Apart Philippe Lavoipierre
English and Community Ecotourism Maggie Jo St. John
A Sustainable Vacation: Nicaragua’s Selva Negra Diana Reid
The Dominican Republic by Motorbike Doug Elliott
Caribbean Adventures Kristin Carter

Language Vacations
Latin American Movies Beth Kohn
The Best Way to Learn a Language Roger Norum
Learn Indonesian Martin Jenkins
Spanish Study in Guatemala Alexa Majors
Learning Language Faster Curtis West
Study in Zacatecas Glenda Bullock
Learn Spanish in Antigua Lee Anne Hasselbacher
Summer in Scandinavia Roger Norum

Back Door Travel
Provence and the French Riviera Rick Steves

Living Abroad
Retirement in Mexico Habeeb Salloum
Tips for Transitioning Overseas Vicki Salemi
Accommodations: Practical Tips for a Pain-Free Search Jennifer Fandel
Combatting Homesickness Keri Kubokawa Vogtmann

Working Traveler
Volunteering in South America Nathan Ward
Community Service Abroad Molly Beer
The TEFL Job Interview Jonathan Clark
Theater Work Abroad Kristin Carter
New Hope for the Kids of Hanoi Michele Peterson

The Learning Traveler
A School for Peace Noah Ross
Art Study in Mexico Kelly Nicholls
Studying in Athens Peter A. von Bleichert
Free Time and Free Travel Jennifer M. Eisenlau

Program New & Notes


Transitions Abroad
A Rickshaw Rider's Guide to Agra Ruth Katmnitzer

From the Editor

When I sat down to write this editorial, on the first warm day after a long winter, the sap was running and the snow had nearly melted. Howard Dean had won Vermont’s primary. John Kerry had been identified as the U.S. Democratic candidate. Change seemed closer.

But then came the news of the upheaval in Haiti and the rising death toll of Iraqis. And now comes the news of the bombings in Madrid. The world is mourning with Madrileños, as they did with New Yorkers three years ago.

Once again it seems it takes a tragedy for us to understand how connected our world is. A Muslim from Sydney, Australia wrote to the BBC about Madrid’s bombings. He said, “This is another sad day for humanity. My heart beats as one with the people of Spain.” Don from the U.K wrote, “I don't care what your race or religion is…this sort of atrocity will only strengthen the resolve of the majority of good people in this world to stand up against international terrorism in any of its forms.”

Like most people in the world, we Transitions Abroad travelers see ourselves as global citizens. Perhaps more than most, we are passionate about getting to know cultures and peoples. And no matter how challenging the process, the first and most rewarding step is to learn a foreign language.

Since English has become the world’s lingua franca, some may ask, "Why should I bother learning a foreign language?”

It is true that people worldwide speak English fluently and some nations even require their elementary school students to learn English (resulting in the endless demand for teachers of English). Those rare Americans who speak the language of the countries they visit not only have an advantage in communication, they also gain immediate respect. Using even basic phrases in the native language of the host country is a step in the right direction. Even if you do not plan to live or work overseas, you still enrich your visit by committing yourself to speaking the language of your host country as much as possible.

As you will discover from the articles in this issue’s Language Vacations section, attending a language school is not only highly educational, it can also be an affordable and fun way to spend time abroad. If you’ve only got two weeks, there are accelerated classes like Lee Anne Hasselbacher describes in her article on learning Spanish in Antigua (page 36). If you’re lucky enough to have a month, summer, or semester, as Roger Norum describes in his article on Language Learning in Italy (page 30), you can consider enrolling in a long-term course, which also makes for a good entryway into an international job or career.

However you decide to go about learning a language—even if you just use language-learning books or software—it’s not just about memorizing the rules of grammar and vocabulary. Learning a language, which is an integral part of every culture, is also about coming to a deeper cultural understanding.

Sherry Schwarz

Publisher and Editor
Sherry Schwarz
Founding Editor and Publisher
Dr. Clay A. Hubbs
Web Content Editor
Gregory Hubbs

Contributing Editors
Susan Griffith (Work)
Cynthia Harriman (Family Travel)
Zahara Heckscher (Volunteering)
Ron Mader (Latin America)
Deborah McLaren (Ecotourism)
William Nolting (International Education and Work)
Volker Poelzl (Living)
Rob Sangster (Independent Travel)
Rick Steves (Budget Travel)
Tracy Scharn and Pamela Houston (Disability Travel)
Kathy Widing (Travel Books)
Alison Gardner (Senior Travel)

Editorial Assistant
Mary Catherine Maxwell

Advertising Manager
Kate McGrail

Office Manager
Ann Jareckie

Alia Santini

Jake Norton, Mountain World Photography.
A cobbler creates his wares in the market, Huaraz, Peru.

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