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Customs, culture and cuisine: Preparing for your international trip

Posted by Melanie Nayer  March 20, 2012 06:23 AM

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There's a lot involved with planning your trip next trip, especially if you're booking international travel. Aside from finding the best flights, booking your preferred hotel room, cramming everything into a carry-on to avoid checked bag fees and setting up tours, reservations and transportation, there's the cultural aspect. Can you speak the language, describe the food, or barter with money? Do you know the appropriate cultural customs and manners to show respect and courtesy?

Many hotels are starting to offer classes, tours and introductions to the local culture in their destination (think: wine and cooking classes). In some cases, like with the Ritz-Carlton and National Geographic, hotels are giving guests once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to capture the beauty of the destination through premier partnerships. But there's also the opportunity for you to learn a little before you go.

That's where the Boston Center for Adult Education comes in. As your trip comes closer, consider taking a few classes to help you prepare for your excursions and become accustomed to the destination's culture prior to landing. In addition to the various language classes that are offered at the BCAE, I found a few others that offer a more in-depth glimpse into international customs and culture:

Rolling Around the World: International Meatballs: Chef Diane Manteca is going to teach you why you should hold your meatballs to very high standards. This hands-on cooking class featuring Italian cuisine with a special focus on meatballs will get you ready for your culinary tour through Italy.

Tapas: Una Noche en Espana: Friends, family and food are a way of life in Spain and nothing signifies that better than classic tapas. Before you head abroad, learn how to pair tapas with regional wines from Madrid native, Chef Luis De Haro.

Thai'd Up: Thai Cuisine Basics: One of the best things about Thailand, aside from its wonderfully friendly people, is its food. Before you head to Thailand (a top destination for 2012) learn how to prepare an authentic Thai meal so you can enjoy with the locals when you're overseas.
thai-beef-salad1.jpgTakieng, the Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa's traditional Thai restaurant, serves up tasty Thai dishes and local favorites, like this spicy Thai beef salad.

Travel Writing: Have you ever wanted to document your travels, but just can't seem to start? It happens to the best of us (even those of us who do it for a living), but you can get a jump start on your travel writing with this class.

Intermediate Photography: Just one of the many photography workshops available through the BCAE, you'll learn how to be better behind the lens and improve your pictures. You'll need to bring your camera for the photography classes!

Salsa Dance Workshop: When in Rome, eat. When in Latin America, dance! If you're heading south this summer, learn a few sizzling salsa moves before you go. This beginner class is for those who have little or no experience with salsa dancing.

Argentine Tango: Not quite ready for the salsa? Try the tango... a little less fast-paced, but a whole lot more sultry. If your travels take you to Argentina this year, you'll want to brush up on this sexy dance. The class gives you a brief introduction to proper walking technique, posture, and figures so you can join the dancing when you're down south.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Melanie Nayer is a travel writer who spent many years in the newsroom before jetting off to see the world. Her goal is to bring readers the best insider information More »

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