When a teenager wants to travel, one of the leading concerns that their parents have is whether or not the teen summer programs that they are considering are safe. If parents are anxious about whether or not they are safe, here are some things that they can do to put their minds at ease.
The first thing that the parents can do is to research. Read about the different programs that their teenager is considering entering and see what their safety records are. There is a lot of information that can be found on the Internet about the programs. There are also reviews from other people that you can see and read.
The second thing that the parents can do is to get in contact with the coordinator of the groups. They can ask them about their policies and about what will happen in case of emergency, because no matter how careful everyone is accidents are going to happen. Talking to the coordinator can help the parents feel better about taking a teen trip to Guatemala.
Make a Plan
The final thing that parents can do, once a program has been chosen, is they can set up times for their teenager to get in touch with them and let them know that they are doing okay. This can be done with a cell phone or through email, depending on where the teen is traveling. This will help put the parents’ minds at ease.
No matter how safe a program is, some things are going to happen. But if parents never let their teenagers experience new things because of what might happen, they won’t ever grow. The parents should do things that are going to make them feel better and help to put their minds at ease. It will help both the parents and the teen feel comfortable with the trip.
What’s possible in a week? If you dedicated seven days to the achievement of one goal, how ambitious could you make this goal? These were the questions that the multilingual friends Katy and Sara posed themselves when they determined to learn English in one week, to prove that it can be done and anyone can do it with the right methods.
They would attempt to liberate themselves from the distractions and responsibilities of modern-day life in order to cram eight hours of study time and I was observing some of the world’s most capable language learners at work.
The friends set themselves the challenge of learning a language in a week in order to stretch themselves, and then it was a question of choosing which language to learn. English presented itself as a natural option; there are nigh on 300,000 English speakers in Germany’s capital, and the areas are dotted with stores adorned with signs in English.
“Truly understanding one’s environment requires one to first understand English”
The first operational step in the friends learning process was to decorate the entire apartment with sticky notes. This had an almost ceremonial touch to it as the friends delved into dictionaries and proceeded to label everything with its corresponding English name.
Within the space of about an hour it was impossible to carry out any menial task, be it making a coffee or flicking off a light switch, without first being presented with at least three different words related to this action.
The importance of the other twin’s presence became immediately apparent as Katy and Sara delegated responsibilities for rooms to decorate with sticky notes. This simple task was augmented by continuous little tests that they would spring on one another, and the fact that they split up their day slightly differently and studied different topics meant that each twin became a source of knowledge for the other.
The most extraordinary moment came towards the end of the week!
The friends simply switched their everyday conversations to English, asking one another if they wanted tea or coffee, were ready to cook dinner or when they were going to leave the house.
Katy and Sara had numerous micro-challenges throughout the week. On the first day they were visited by a English friend who greeted them in English and complimented them on how quickly they’d picked up their first words and phrases.
They then learned the names of fruits and the numbers from one to a billion so that they could visit the English market (although they refrained from purchasing nine hundred thousand kumquats). Displaying their haul after their first functional exchange in English, they beamed with pride and a palpable sense of accomplishment before marching back home to study further.
On our second visit to the brother’s apartment 24 hours into the week, we found them sampling dozens of different kinds of English snacks.
Like kids staring at the backs of cereal packs before heading to school, the nutritional information and various special offers and competitions on the packaging were analysed during snack breaks.
There was no moment of complete removal from the language learning process during the eight hours that the friends had allotted to it.
They were constantly using their existing knowledge to support the ever-growing knowledge of English, this being the root of their success.
“you will likely come across words that share common origins with your native tongue”
The friends spent a lot of time engrossed in books or on their computers and apps, flicking and swiping their way through exercises eagerly, but at other times they were to be found searching busily for English radio stations and write-ups of English football games on the web.
There is no definitive method to learn a language fluently
All too often, people enter their weekly language class to converse with their teacher, but then barely have any contact with other speakers and that’s not enough.
The old saying that we can solve problems more effectively when we sleep on it may be especially true if the problem we’re trying to solve is learning a new language.
Researchers from two Swiss universities wanted to know if they could enhance the learning of words from a foreign language by exposing people to the words during non-rapid eye movement sleep the deep, dreamless sleep period that most of us experience during the first few hours of the night.
To find out, they gathered two groups of study participants, all of whom were native German speakers, and gave them a series of Dutch-to-German word pairs to learn at 10 pm. One group was then instructed to get some sleep, while the other group was kept awake.For the next few hours both groups listened to an audio playback of the word pairs they’d already been exposed to and some they hadn’t yet heard.
The researchers then re-gathered both groups at 2 am and gave them a test of the Dutch words to uncover any differences in learning. And indeed there was a difference:
“The group that listened to the words during sleep did better at recalling the words they’d heard”
The simple yet potent trick the researchers employed is known as verbal cueing, and this isn’t the first claim made for its success while sleeping. But what makes this study different is that it puts a finer point on the conditions necessary for this trick to actually work namely, it only works when we’ve already been exposed to the verbal cues before we sleep.
The researchers added a techie dimension by conducting electroencephalographic (EEG)recordings of the sleeping participants brains to track neural electrical activity during the learning period.
They found that learning the foreign words overlapped with the appearance of theta brain waves, an intriguing result since theta is the brain wave state often associated with heightened learning while awake (usually we’re in either the high-frequency, high-alertness alpha or beta states while awake, but it’s thought possible to induce theta state slower in frequency than alpha and beta through concentration techniques).
However, the savvy business traveler also pays attention to whatever may stand in the way of accomplishing his or her objective and plans accordingly. Here are some suggestions to help plan for the unexpected when traveling on business:
1. Pay attention to anything or anyone that seems curious or suspicious. This goes for when you’re home or abroad. Many accidents can be avoided if you take appropriate precautions when you’re out and about. For example, do not leave any of your personal information in plain sight for any stranger to see. Someone who looks like an innocent passer-by could surprise you.
2. Do some research on the local food and water? Unfortunately, over one billion people in the world do not have access to safe water, and around 50 countries also suffer from “medium or high water stress.” Having information regarding the availability and safety of the water when you travel abroad can make all the difference in the world, and the same holds true for the safety of the local cuisine.
3. Be aware of how your insurance applies away from home, and know how to reach your agent in case of emergency. This is good advice for anyone who owns a home, car, laptop, electronics, jewelry or anything else of value. If you have any questions about coverage, be sure to speak with your insurance provider before you hit the road.
4. Pack an extra set of clothes because you never know. Think Steve Martin and John Candy in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.” ‘Nuff said.
5. Keep an electronic backup copy of all your important documents and contacts. Again, you never know. Better safe than sorry. Remember, flash drives are your friends!
6. Let someone know where you will be and how to reach you. Leave your business mobile number, your hotel’s contact information, travel itinerary and any other info that could be helpful in case of emergency with people you trust.
7. Arm yourself with a reliable safety app. Thanks to recent advances in smartphone apps you can help enhance your safety when traveling for business or pleasure. For instance, the Gabe The Guardian app can alert your friends, family members or business colleagues whenever you feel threatened, or your safety is compromised.
As Michael Monahan, founder of Gabe The Guardian, notes “This app helps provide the savvy traveler with peace of mind. Whether you’re at home or traveling for any reason, this app can send an email with a photo and your GPS location as well as a text message directing the recipient to check their email for your location.” Gabe The Guardian allows you to pre-program your list of contacts so you can keep friends, family, and business associates up to date with your location whenever you want.
So remember, the smart business traveler expects the unexpected. Do your research, review your insurance, be vigilant, back up your documents, pack wisely and let those you trust know your plans and how to get ahold of you. And be sure to have a great safety app available on your smartphone.