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OK, we have talked about the fun stuff. Let's look at some important stuff. If you are planning to spend more than a couple of weeks abroad, consider the cultural experience of travel, and how it will affect you (as well as those you meet). Here is a summary of things you can do to prepare your brain, not just your body and backpack:

Buy a dictionary and phrasebook

Get out of the mainstream

Spend at least some time alone

Have a flexible itinerary

Don't be afraid to speak first

Be yourself: you don't have to go completely native

Be tolerant, and look at things from the other's perspective

Remember you are the visitor, and should not flout local sensitivities

We will touch on most of these issues in turn in the following pages.

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