Imaginary trips: Be a responsible traveler

Many Spanish language programs at some point, at some level, assign students the task of taking an imaginary trip to a Spanish-speaking country.  It can be a great way to integrate language and culture.  On the other hand, sometimes these imaginary trips describe laying around on the beach, participating in expensive, environmentally destructive activities, going to fancy restaurants and staying in expensive hotels–potentially reinforcing, rather than breaking down, stereotypes students might hold about the peoples and places they “visit.”

Here are a few ideas:

*Have your students follow the guidelines for responsible tourism when they create their trips.  There are several versions available.  Here’s one on the Organización Dominicana de Turismo web site written primarily with formal “usted” commands and the future tense.  To shorten, just use the first sentence for each guideline listed (1. Ábrase a las culturas y tradiciones distintas a la suya….2.  Respete los derechos humanos….3.Ayude a conservar el entorno natural…., etc.)  The guidelines refer specifically to understanding and protecting the local environment, as well as supporting the local economy through fair trade.

*Have students work in pairs to create a plan for a one week trip to the same destination.        Give awards for the most economical trip, the trip that most closely follows the guidelines, the most interesting trip, etc.  Presentations can be made in two rounds a la “reality show.”  One student presents while the other circulates to listen to the pitch from others.  For the awards, all students can vote for a trip that is NOT their own for each category.  I often invite “celebrity guest judges”–Spanish-speaking faculty or staff–to help pick the winners.  This helps to spark interest and creativity in working within the guidelines and helps us all to dig a little deeper to discover other people and places from their own perspectives.

I originally created this activity around the Dominican Republic and will soon post a project description and rubrics for anyone interested.

About sustainabilityandspanish

Spanish teacher and accidental environmentalist.
This entry was posted in Ecological Living, Environment & Ecology, Sustainable Economics & Consumption, Tolerance & Diversity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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