Travel Tips: When You Return Home

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Charlotte Seewald, UNHS Assistant Director

Your trip is now over, but don’t be too sad! Now you have fond memories to look back on, and I bet it also feels good to be home. Here are some things to keep in mind as you readjust to your home country.

Remember how you had jet lag when you traveled there? Coming home may be worse! While I hope you land and feel great, it is understandable if you feel tired, irritable, distracted as your brain and body readjust to the time zone.

Be gentle with yourself—most people need a day for every hour difference to be back to their normal energy level. So if you were in a country that was 10 hours different than your home it may take 10 days for you to adjust. It is a good idea to not have big projects or stressful agendas to work on the first week of your return. Also, let your family and friends know you need some time to “get back to normal”.

After a long trip home from Malaysia, I found myself crying over a TV commercial! My friend’s husband came home from a long trip and was a grouch for 2 days. Fair warning!

Now that you’re home, here are some things to do:

  1. Store your passport in designated and secure spot for the next trip.
  2. Review credit card charges to note any errors. Contact credit card companies to inform them you have returned.
  3. Store electrical adapter where you can find them again.
  4. Download photos, edit and share!
  5. Sort through gifts and mementos you brought home to share now or later.
  6. Reflect on your travel experiences and consider where you would like to go next!

Whether you are reading these tips before you travel to prepare yourself or are using the advice now, I hope you have a wonderful experience before, during and after you travel!

Travel Tips: While You Travel

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Charlotte Seewald, UNHS Assistant Director

Congratulations! Now that you’ve arrive at your destination, here are a few tips to help get your trip off to a good start.

  • Cash is always accepted! When you arrive in a new country, it is always good to have U.S. dollars on you. Get local money at an ATM or currency exchange location, and avoid getting it exchanged at the airport—they have the worst rates. It can be helpful to use a calculator or app on your phone to figure out the price of something in a specific currency.
  • If you’ve landed in a time zone that is five or more hours different than home, you may have jet lag. There are different theories on how to deal with jet lag, but it helps to try and jump into the local time and plan a not so strenuous first day. Eat and sleep on the local schedule. Here’s hoping you get a great night’s rest!
  • Remember you are always an ambassador of your country. Be courteous and respect the local culture. It may be tremendously exciting to visit a place, but may not be appropriate to do certain things. For instance taking photos, selfies, funny poses and gawking at new sights can sometimes make others feel awkward and less than respected.
  • It’s always a good idea to keep passport, money, credit cards, phone, camera, etc. close to you. Some people like money belts or a zippered pouch on a lanyard. Prevent potential problems by having items in a safe, locked pocket or bag. Also because of potential jet lag you may be more forgetful, so it’s good to have a designated place to find these items.

One more big things to remember: Just because you are in a world famous place doesn’t mean you have to do the “expected” tour. Often the most meaningful experiences are more personal. For instance, in Venice, you may find that the expensive gondola ride is eclipsed by rich gelato eaten in the beautiful sunshine.

Ask locals for advice and be genuinely open to new and different people, places, and cultures. You will make new friends and learn lots!

Travel Tips: Before You Go

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Charlotte Seewald, UNHS Assistant Director

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.
  • Visit state.gov/travel/ to see updates about the countries you are visiting with:
    • Travel alerts
    • Visa requirements
    • Currency limits
    • Lots of other helpful information
  • 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.

Carry-on Luggage:

  • 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!

Checked Luggage:

  • 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.

 So….ready, set, travel overseas!

Making the Connection

Hugh
High McDermott, UNHS Principal

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).

The End Goal of High School

Hugh
Hugh McDermott, UNHS Principal

High school principals and teachers value all of the experiences, activities and opportunities that students have along the way, but make no mistake, the end goal is to give students their diplomas.

When that day and hour arrives, the moment is indescribable! Parents, grandparents, friends and former teachers all raise their heads to acknowledge their students and how proud they are of them for attaining this rite of passage.

Students are capped and gowned. Teachers and other staff have taken their various places for the ceremony but also to do what they do best, help students even in this most anxious time to make this very special event—the best ever. There is an electricity and buzz in the air like no other.

As you work toward this most prestigious accomplishment, here are some things to think about:

  1. What am I doing to reach my graduation goal—right now?
  2. If my grades are not what I want them to be, what can I change in my study habits, right now, that will lead to better grades?
  3. If I need tutor help, who can I turn to, to make this happen?

Graduation opens an infinite number of opportunities and adventures!
And remember, the teachers and staff are there to help you reach that goal.

“The Next Play”

Ray
Ray Henning, Academic Adviser

In sports competition, what is the most important play?

You are likely to get many different answers depending on who you ask. However, to most coaches, the correct response they want from their athletes is, “the next play”.

This is a vital message coaches need to communicate to his/her team and individual players. Participants cannot be focused on what previously took place on the field, court, etc. All of their attention needs to be on what is going on in present time. If an athlete is still thinking about what just happened—either positive or negative—it takes away from their concentration on the next action.

Similarly, as you work on your academics, it is important to keep your focus on what you are currently doing. If you just had a grade you really like or one that was not so fantastic, you need to refocus and get your attention on what you are doing now. This enables you to do the best you can on the current project, assignment, test, or evaluation.

Learn from your past and prepare for your future, but focus on what you are learning today!

What is the “next play” for you?

Resilience

Hugh
Hugh McDermott, UNHS Principal

As a former English teacher, there are some words I just love—like “resilience.” I love its meaning and what it stands for, and it’s very easy for me to conjure a mental picture of resilience.

One of the definitions Webster provides for resilience is, “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.”

As a principal I have witnessed many students demonstrate resilience. Students who struggled to pass their courses, their resilience showed strongly. These students knew they were struggling in their classes—some had been struggling academically for years!

Sometimes as a teacher, counselor or principal, we would learn and discover more about these students outside of school. It was then we better understood the word resilience! Many times these students came from very difficult personal situations—a broken family, abuse situations or low income. Even though they were dealing with these problems, many did not have an attendance problem. They liked being at school, and once we figured out together how they could be successful, there was nothing stopping them from overcoming anything.

I think resilience springs eternal and internal within each of us. Everyone exudes some resilience, but how one nurtures it makes us all different. Many students who struggle on a daily basis with life around them have resilience but at times it must seem almost like it is extinguished. Others guard and protect what resilience they have because they feel it is all they have. No matter the situation, your resilience will pay off if you work hard enough.

As educators, we carry a responsibility of inspiring hope within all our students. Students have their hopes and dreams, whatever they are, and it is our job to encourage them, support them and motivate them into believing anything is possible.

What examples of resilience have you witnessed or what have you overcome?