A Good Reason to Travel

I went backpacking through Europe and I met so many Australians and learned so much about Australian culture.

– Anonymous –

This is so true. In my personal experience, it was not meeting Australians in Europe, but meeting Britons while living in Japan. While living there, I encountered many other English teachers and got to learn so much about their culture.

While teaching Japanese students not to ask Westerners whether they are from America (this used to annoy non-Americans tremendously at times), I fell into the same trap. I asked a person with a British accent whether she was from England. “No, I am from Wales!”, she hissed at me. It was time to get smarter about Great Britain’s history and geography by visiting the international library in Kitakyushu. Fortunately, I was not alone in my blissful ignorance 🙂

While the above travel quotation might sound humorous to some, it entails a lot of truth.


  1. I have nothing against Chinese people. I just don’t like to be assumed as one.

  2. come to think of it, it’s easier to meet and really get to know other foreigners when you are a foreigner yourself in other countries. I met so many French, German, Spanish and Israelis on my trips. They are everywhere! I had much fun with many of them. Undoubtedly it is a valuable experience to meet locals. But company of fellow foreigners is equally amazing because we may share similar perspectives and reference points, so we can laugh together about not so nice experiences and be impressed / moved together at good ones.

  3. Yes, foreigners together in a foreign country have much more in common, at least initially, than foreigners with locals.
    We can talk about the quirks and the virtues of the respective country, we can share experiences, and commiserate.
    But if you are there for a longterm stay, it is more beneficial to hook up with the locals.

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