Culture can wow even the most experienced travelers. Take Anthony Bourdain, for example. Though he has tried food from nearly all parts of the world, dined with natives in their homes and favorite spots, Bourdain still faces with oddities when traveling around the world.

Earlier this year, Bourdain told of his not-so-fun experiences abroad during a session at South by Southwest®. Bourdain shared one instance that forced him to confront an elephant in the room that called for unethical treatment to Arabians. “Sometimes, when you’re eating, you have to acknowledge the elephant in the room,” and he’s right – it’s important to recognize the culture around you.

This school year, ask your students about their summer vacation. If they traveled elsewhere, what did they notice about the culture? Were there any elephants in the room that made them uncomfortable? If they stayed home, what did they think about the stories they heard from their classmates? Ask all students how they would have benefited from knowing more about the culture before traveling this this specific place. This fun exercise will remind students the importance of learning about other cultures, and serve as an opportunity to break the ice with fellow classmates.

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Finding Culture in Your Classroom

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