Krisstofer Taylor, Online English teacher at Acadsoc.
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The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
When I was finishing my university degree, I used to travelled 3-4 times a year, to nearby states, across the entire US or to other countries. And that’s the reason why I chose to be an online English teacher at Acadsoc, with a flexible schedule, where I can pack up my bag and set off for a trip at any time I want. My students are quite interested in where I travelled and told me to send pictures and postcards to them.
As I believe, the core and intention of travelling are to share, telling stories to others like Marco Polo. Every time when I set off a trip to somewhere, I will share my daily pictures and feeling with my friends on social media, such as Facebook and Twitter. Since I know most of my Chinese students aren’t able to access FB or Twitter, I would prefer to share with them in my class or after class. At first, I just did it for fun, like why I shared my travel notes to my friends. Someday, my long-term student, Lisa told me that she was planning to travel to the US. I was so surprised because as far as I knew, Lisa was quite shy and ingoing in my class. It would be her first time travelling abroad and travelling alone.
She seemed to read the worry and confusion on my face and said, ‘Don’t worry about me. I would regret missing so many good views and good people in my life. You taught me to step out of my comfort zone, and now I am working on it.’And I remembered what my classmates and roommates told me before, seeing someone travelling here and there, now and then inspired them to pack up and travel as well. From that moment, I became aware that travelling is actually ‘contagious’!It reminds me that travelling can be a big help to online English teaching, for both teachers and students. Travelling to US, UK or other English speaking countries will be a perfect opportunity for someone to practice their English speaking and reading, for sure.
As a traveller, I am glad to see more people paying a visit to somewhere unknown, to explore the world outside and to expand their horizon. However, as an online English teacher at the moment, I would love to make my students’ travel meaningful and worth their time. Hence, I have concluded some tips and strategies for my students when travelling to English speaking countries.
As an experienced traveller, my suggestions
Check your gear
Wherever you are going to, you must make sure you have packed up all necessity in your bag and luggage. Clothes, map(actually I rarely bring a map with me because I can use google maps on my smartphone), face towels and toothbrush (if you don’t want to use the ones offered by the hotel), medicines for cold, diarrhoea and first aid of injury, visa and passport, cash and debit/credit cards (You can see on the face of your card if it supports paid and withdrawn via Visa/Mastercard/UnionPay. (If you are still unsure about it, feel free to contact customer service of the bank of your account), backup batteries or power bank for your phone (Please carefully check the security regulations of airlines and customs, to make sure you are not carrying something beyond their allowance), an empty bottle (Since I know many Chinese would prefer to drink boiled water, not raw water), socks, underwears, pajamas, a pair of sneakers, a pair of sunglasses (It depends on where you are travelling to and how is the weather there), plug adapter…
However, I strongly disapprove to carry everything with you. We are travelling, not moving or doing a picnic. Food, snacks, shampoo, body wash, facial wash…You can quickly get these staffs in a local supermarket or hotel, so please don’t make your luggage puffy and bulky. The happiness of travel should be relief from your heavy burden and to enjoy the view.
Make your plan
Don’t wander around like a headless chicken, make yourself a plan and route before setting off. It seems complicated and time-consuming, but actually quite funny and enjoyable for travellers. Do you feel excited when seeing the beautiful pictures of sightseeing points, when reading an article about its culture, when planning your route like playing a game? Yes!
If you have no clue how to do so, please refer to others’ travel notes and plans. We are in an internet era now, you can easily get a bunch of travelling experience, and travelling tips shared online. If you are still not sure how to make a plan or you feel so worried going to a new place, you can rent a room from local hosts, like a homestay. I am sure they will be happy to discuss your plan and answer your questions.
As an online English teacher, my suggestions
Learn the basic expressions.
Expressions like greeting someone, asking for directions, ordering in a restaurant or asking for help are just of the most essential expressions you need to be able to learn and use. Practice them. Use them confidently.
Learn basic travel words.
One good tip is to associate words with scenarios. For example, if you think you’re going to be riding a lot of trains, familiarise yourself with basic words found at a train station. Then, try to learn action words that go with them. Or if most your travels will involve having to take boats and ships, then learn some expressions associated with it.
Learn to ask for help.
The best way to practice what you’ve learned is to actually use them once you’re there. Don’t be embarrassed if you sound shy or awkward. The more you’ll use them, the more you’ll get used to hearing yourself say them.
Learn to start conversations.
If you’re travelling alone, it feels good to be able to chat with someone else. If you want to practice your English, one best way to do it is to talk to people. Learning how to initiate a conversation will help you learn so much about the place, the people, and most especially, the language you’re trying to learn.
The important thing is for you to be able to put to use all the things that you’ve been learning. You’ll be amazed to realise how easy it is to talk to people in English.
If you feel you’re not confident enough, try practising it with a language partner or an English tutor. All you need is a conversation partner! You may want to check out Acadsoc so you can find great, qualified English speakers who can help you feel more comfortable and confident in speaking English.