Thursday, October 04, 2007

Speak to me

There are any number of frivolous ways to dabble in different cultures (see anything in this blog for example), but just for a minute, be serious. Please.

So much of traveling is about finding out how other people live: visiting tribes in the hills of Thailand, dancing with the locals in a bar in Nicaragua, renting an apartment for a couple of weeks in NYC. Knowing that things can be done differently gives us a fresh look at the way we do things. And sure, if you’re staying home you can have dinner in a Vietnamese restaurant or see a French film and get a little bit of that insight. Or you could become a volunteer English tutor for a recent migrant.

Do what now? Don’t you have to go to university for that?

You don’t. All over the country, community-based organisations train people to be volunteer English tutors: all it requires is a commitment of your time (try calling your local university, technical college, migrant centre or local government for more information). Even if there’s no such organization in your area or you don’t feel comfortable formally tutoring someone to speak English, lots of migrants really just want someone they can practise English with. All you have to do is have a little chat with them once a week or so. You can discuss football, cooking, weddings, what’s on TV or the country they’re from: whatever the two of you feel like talking about. Put up some notices around your local schools, shopping centres or cultural centres and see if anyone’s interested. Helping someone out with their English, seeing the way this improves their life, and at the same time finding out about a completely different way of living is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have.


BLOG FAVES said...

Been reading your blog -- found it via Blogger's real-time photo upload thingy. LOVE it, because I live in Palm Springs, CA, and have always wanted to travel more and been a bit bitchy lately that I haven't -- all this time, EVERY October through June and even longer now, hordes of tourists from all over the planet come to me.

Clever concept and look forward to more posts :)

-- Letty

travelskerricks said...

hey, thanks heaps letty! i'm really glad you like it.

travelskerricks said...

if you're interested in doing this, in Melbourne, and particularly annoyed with Kevin Andrews, you could try this place