Paying respect to local culture

  • Take time to educate yourself about your destination, its history, and its culture before you go.
  • Learn a few common words and phrases in the local language. (“Please” and “Thank you” are appreciated everywhere!)
  • Remember that when you’re traveling, you’re a guest in the communities you visit and there to understand a new perspective.
  • Wear appropriate clothing for the community or surroundings you’re visiting, being especially respectful when visiting religious sites. (Your Tour Director can help with specifics, such as wearing long pants or covering your shoulders.)

Make a positive impact with your spending

  • Support local businesses to ensure your money is invested back into the community.
  • Be aware of monetary norms (tipping and negotiating are at the top of the list) in your destination.
  • Shop at stores offering products made by local artisans—and pay fair prices.
  • Eat at locally-owned restaurants, where the food is more likely to be locally-sourced. (EF selects locally-owned restaurants for group meals whenever possible.)

Interacting with local communities

  • Talk to your Tour Director about when it’s appropriate to take photos.
  • Ask people for permission before taking their picture, and if taking a picture of a minor, talk to a responsible adult first.
  • Gifts can have unintended negative consequences in local communities. Consult with your professor, Tour Director, or EF beforehand for specific instances where it might be appropriate.
  • Remember to also always be respectful of the other cultures, races, and viewpoints of those who are on your program.

Reflect when you return home

  • Consider how you tell the story of your experience—be careful about generalizing. Reflect on what you learned, how the program changed your perspective, and what you’re going to do with your new knowledge.