Travel English Conversation

Travel English Conversation

Travel English Conversation

Semester 2, Lesson 11

Download the lesson plan here:

Etiquette. It’s such a crucial part of culture. Whenever we teach learners English, we often forget that they’re not just seeking proficiency in a particular academic field. They want to better experience the world and other cultures. While excelling at English is certainly one of the best ways to achieve that goal, we’d be remiss not to include more in our lessons.

We need to teach our students about culture. Etiquette. What you should and shouldn’t do.

Often times, I’ll acquire new students who are preparing to work or study abroad. They’ll only have a few months to brush up on their English skills before they ship off the States, New Zealand, or wherever else they want to go. I always make a conscious effort to not only improve their English, but their knowledge of English speaking culture.

The handshake. How many Korean folks do you know who can really, truly give you a strong, ‘Western Style” handshake. In my experience, I haven’t found many. That’s one of the first aspects of etiquette that I teach my students. In American culture, and Western culture by extension, a strong handshake is crucial for success. It indicates the character of a person.

How about personal space? I know Americans have a very strong sense of “my space”. It’s that imaginary bubble that radiates 2 feet in every direction. If someone enters our ‘personal bubble’, then we feel uncomfortable. Koreans don’t share this concept. How awkward would your former students feel if, when they visit English speaking countries, they weren’t aware of “personal space”. That’s why etiquette, and all the strange idiosyncrasies of American (and Western) culture are important to instruct.


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