We at Expect Respect are sure that you are very excited to be on Spring Break soon! We hope that you enjoy time on a service trip, going on vacation, or simply spending time at home! As you travel, keep in mind that you may enter spaces and places that are very different than the communities that you have grown up in and experienced here in Ann Arbor. During these formative experiences it is important to be mindful of how you enter a community and how you address their customs, lifestyles and traditions within these communities. By being respectful and appropriate, you can learn an incredible amount about the community, including their functions and their resiliency. This is especially true if you are traveling abroad during this time!
A few questions to reflect on as you enter unfamiliar communities:
Why am I traveling/entering this community?
What is my intention? (This is especially true if you are doing any kind of service)
Think about intention vs. impact and what your impact can have on the community you enter.
In what ways will my presence change the community?
If you are taking a vacation this spring break, it is still important to ask yourself these questions because your presence can impact these communities as well. It is important to be respectful while you are traveling regardless of your destination. Therefore, a few things to consider during your trip are:
Out of respect, ask permission before taking pictures of other people.
Conduct yourself respectfully toward the food and traditions by refraining from making negative remarks about food, traditions, or culture.
Be mindful of appropriating the culture, clothes, and other obtained goods from the area once you return home.
Above all, remember to enjoy your time and learn as much as you can! During your time spent in a new area, you can take part in cultural exchanges! As you are asking about another person’s culture, you can also share about your own traditions.
The amount of growth that comes from traveling is immeasurable. If you are are not traveling during this time, we hope that you are still able to have a restful and enjoyable week in Ann Arbor or elsewhere!
Contributed By: Maritza Y Duran, Expect Respect Program Assistant