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Getting over “the shock”: On culture shock and how to handle it

Culture shock. If you’ve ever travelled, you’ve experienced it; if you’ve travelled as much as I have, you have experienced it in all the colours of the rainbow.

I still clearly remember my first major dose of culture shock. Of course I’d travelled before; through my childhood and adolescence I spent plenty of holidays in France in particular, and was used to the concept of things being different from how they are at home.… Keep reading

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The view from the window: Reflections from 35,000 feet…

I’m writing this sitting on a plane at 35,000 ft. And I need to kill the boredom.

This is the decidedly unglamorous side of travel. I remember, growing up, reading my mother’s series of “Shirley Flight: Air Hostess” books – she had the complete set and they are still on the bookshelves in my spare room – which portrayed air travel in the 1950s and 1960s.… Keep reading

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Russia after Communism: Witnessing the change

Among my many and varied talents (ahem) is the fact that I’m a linguist. And because I’ve used the words “talents” and “linguist” in the same sentence, which starts to sound a bit full of myself, and because I’m British and we don’t do that, what I mean is that I enjoy languages, I tend to be better than average at them, and as a result I am worse than average in a number of other activities (in which anything athletic features highly).… Keep reading

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