Traveling is always very exciting, and I feel so lucky to be able to travel around the world each year to see old friends and make new friends on behalf of the University of Nebraska High School.
Having been in my role with UNHS for ten years, I’ve traveled abroad more than 50 times!
Here is what I’ve learned to help you prepare for your next trip overseas.
Make at least 2 photocopies of passport ID pages—one copy to stay at home and the other(s) to keep in your carry-on luggage or checked baggage. If your passport is lost or stolen, you will have the necessary information needed to get a replacement quicker.
Make 2 photocopies of your flight and lodging itinerary—one copy to leave with family or friend and the other to keep in carry-on luggage. If things get delayed or interrupted, you can be contacted.
Sign up here https://step.state.gov/step for the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to be registered with nearest US Embassy and to receive alerts and contacts in an emergency
Add an app on your phone that allows you to text or call via Wi-Fi overseas. This saves money on international costs! Try the WhatsApp.
Check with your phone carrier about availability and cost of calling out of country. Don’t just rely on free Wi-Fi to communicate with friends and family.
It may be more economical to buy a sim card or even not have the phone and enjoy time “off the grid”! One of my friends came home from a one week trip to $800 phone charges—he didn’t realize the costs of overseas phone service.
There are also a few things to keep in mind when it comes to luggage and packing.
Keep one outfit in carry-on luggage in case your luggage doesn’t arrive with you.
Chargers and electrical adapters.
Important things such as contacts, glasses, inhalers and other products that you do not want to risk losing.
Small hygiene products, cosmetics, and snacks can mean a world of difference when things don’t go as planned!
Contact airline to learn baggage fees and limits.
Narrow down clothing to essentials—you’ll appreciate having extra room for purchases you wish to bring home!
Bring only comfortable shoes – most likely you will be doing lots of walking.
These tips can help ensure that you’re informed and prepared for just about anything while you’re abroad.
“Anything worth doing is worth doing well.” While it is a well-intended thought meant to elevate our work towards quality and perfection, I do not like its overall meaning.
If you perceive something is worth doing, then do it. If it is worth doing, then do it badly! You will either find it so worthwhile that you will improve or you will enjoy the experience and then turn your attention to other things that you will do well. But there is NOTHING to be gained by sitting out some activity you want to engage in because you may be perceived as not doing it well.
H. Macy of Macy’s started seven failed businesses before finally hitting it big in New York City.
Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
Albert Einstein was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School.
Oprah Winfrey was fired from a position as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
Stephen King’s first book received 30 rejections.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
These are some high performing people, but not because they were immediately and consistently good at their chosen activity. They were driven by a love of the activity or competition or performance. They would not have even understood the question, “Is it worth doing?”
The point is: YOU decide what is worth doing.
I love to sing. I do not sing particularly well, but it is worth doing because I enjoy it! I like the energy and well-being that comes from singing out loud. And the more I do it, the better I become. I am improving and making myself worthy of the activity I enjoy.
Maybe you like to write, or run, or cook, or ski…. Do it. I cannot tell you if it is worth it; but I can tell you that YOU ARE worth it!
I’ve worked in academics for many years, and I’ve always been fascinated with how teachers and students make the “connection” with each other.
From my observations successful classroom connections had the following commonalities:
The student was more focused and ready to learn when he/she came to learn.
Teachers kept the courses academically challenging.
The classroom environment was free from major disruptions
Both teachers and students had to make this happen—but how?
A publication from The National Middle School Association published an article called, “Classroom Connections—Linking National Middle School Association to Middle Level Classrooms Around the World” provides a few tips as to what classroom and online teachers can do to make these connections.
Take action. A welcoming room supports risk-taking, safety and academic success. Online teachers must use their “voice” through their response/feedback comments to establish this trust and safe environment for their students. Tone and attitude can be sensed by the words we use and how we use them.
Greet students into your classroom by meeting them at the door. A great opportunity to talk with students one-on-one to acknowledge some previous good work you witnessed from them or to remind them of your expectations in the class if need be. For online teachers, using a welcome assignment to let students introduce themselves and responding.
Keep in mind that you are always a role model. Whether you are there physically or mentally, students can and will model positive behavior when they experience it from you. They also know when you are being insincere. The choice of words that online teachers use is critical in creating and keeping a positive relationship with students. Look for ways to complement students, yet get your point across for encouraging improvement on course work.
Being a good disciplinarian does not mean that students are scared of you. It has to do with your understanding of students. Teachers with positive connections have a very good understanding of the developmental, social, emotional and intellectual changes students are going through. Online teachers must be consistent in their grading, which gives students a sense of fairness in their work.
Sometimes you have to revert to being one of “them.” Keep informed about the latest fads, fashions and slang that students use and ask students about their interests and hobbies earn respect from them. Online teachers are masters at picking up on the vibes and clues that students display for them in their submitted written work. Use these clues to extend the conversation with students.
Making connections online is different, but it’s possible and necessary.
With that connection, both teachers and students accomplish the common goal of learning, and all are richer for the experience.
Classroom Connections-Linking National Middle School Association to Middle Level Classrooms Around the World. (2000). The National Middle School Association,2(4).
As an adviser, I work with seniors who go through many emotions in their final months of high school. Some are very anxious to graduate and complete their courses earlier than expected, some will continue to pace themselves to the finish at the planned time, and some want to slow down as they near to end to enjoy their high school years a while longer.
No matter how they are feeling, all have choices to make as they near graduation. Whether they want to go faster or slower to the finish line, my wish for all seniors is to capitalize on perseverance and lead yourself to many joys along the way.
I’ve been blessed by perseverance as a lifetime student. My history thrives around the ongoing pursuit of knowledge for either personal, social, sustainable, or professional goals. I’ve climbed a mountain of tasks, rolled down the hills, landed in pastures and pushed through to a finish line to find the beginning of new goal. I find the glory of overcoming any obstacle with perseverance.
Perseverance may be hard to find when you’re in high school and only starting to learn about yourself as a learner and a young adult. How can you find and capitalize your own perseverance?
Spend time with family and friends.
Learn something new to keep your tank full and brain working.
Work with a team to care for others.
Be grounded to deal with the tethered threads of life choices.
Find courage to keep learning new skills.
Wear a smile every day!
The choices you have to make like when to graduate and what to do after graduation may be scary—change always is. All you need to do is live with hope, a big shovel of resiliency, and two buckets of perseverance. I promise you will make it through!