MY FIRST TIME ABROAD, I knew things were going to be different the moment I saw my European host dad strip down to a speedo tighter than my bikini bottoms and dive into the Baltic Sea. Cultural differences will surprise you, but you have to learn to live with them to enjoy traveling.
When you realize you’re not as smart as you thought
You thought you knew it all. After all, you’ve been trained since birth to consider yourself living in a melting pot. “Traditional ethnic foods” like spaghetti and meatballs, burritos, and chop suey have laid the foundations for our sophisticated, multicultural palates. If you really think so, I challenge you to order one of these dishes in its alleged country of origin and not make a total ass of yourself. Then, I challenge you to haggle for items like fabric softener, tampons, or a bootleg iPhone in a bustling open-air market using your straight-out-of-the-textbook “fluent” language skills.