Travel Advice: Letters from my students

This is a birthday post for my mom, but if you’re in need of travel advice (or you just like to read blogs), then keep on reading! Also, a special welcome to any of my Year 12 students who might be reading! 

Happy Birthday, Mom! 

I figured a fun (virtual, rather than literal) birthday present would be to have my students write you (and dad) letters of advice about travelling abroad. They’re my Year 12 Exam Course students, and they’ve all been abroad for travel, so I knew they’d have some great advice for you!

I told them about how the two of you are going to Italy this Autumn, and that it’s your first time leaving the US (other than Tijuana). And I also printed out a few pictures so they could see who they’d be writing to (hope you don’t mind, mom and dad).

I hope you enjoy reading their letters! I think they all gave excellent advice. (I’ve corrected any grammar mistakes, but there really weren’t that many–these students are fantastic at English in all areas).

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading these letters! (They’re in no particular order)

Dear Steve and Suzy,

We are writing you to cheer you up a little bit. We heard that you are going to Italy, so we would like to give you some advice about how to deal with the local people and how to understand the atmosphere.

First of all, Italy is a very multicultural country, but in general, the way of thinking, manners, and habits are very close to Mexicans.

The second thing is that they have such a thing as “fiesta”. Yep, they sleep during the day. It is normal if you find that all the shops are closed for one hour.

All Italians drink wine. No exceptions. And we strongly recommend you try the local sorts of wine.

We would also recommend you to their local ice cream–it has a special taste. If you are considering to eat at McDonald’s–forget this idea. Italian food is the best thing you can find.

Rome has a special way to travel–so named “Hop-on-Hop-off” buses. You can buy a ticket for a day and enjoy Rome’s sights by listening to a guide using earphones. We would suggest you enjoy the first bus tour from the beginning to the end. It helps you to understand which is interesting for you and during the second tour you can “hop off” where you want. Also, it is easy to travel by underground.

And the last but not least. Do not ever mix pasta with ketchup. Locals wouldn’t appreciate that.

Yours sincerely,

Roma, Kate, Jan


Dear Steve and Suzy,

We are glad to hear that you are having a holiday in Italy. The country you are going to visit has a very open minded view. People there are very friendly and talkative. One thing to bear in mind is that their way to greet people is to kiss on the cheeks which may cause culture shock. Do not be afraid of it, just go with the flow because they actually wish well.

However, there are some things to be aware of while being on a tour–you should keep an eye on your things because you cannot trust anyone 100%.

We would also like to recommend to you some places to visit there. First of all, you should visit the Vatican, which is the smallest country in the world and home for the Pope. Another place you should go to is Venice where you definitely have to ride the gondola. It is good for you, Suzy, that the gondola men talk a lot about the history and culture of Venice and Italy in general.

It is a must-have to eat the dessert called gelatto (ice cream), that you have to try there. They offer many kinds of tastes for every person.

We hope that this will be your new anniversary since Italy is a very Romantic country. We hope you find some good tips from our letter.

With the best regards,

Sven and Maria


Dear Mr. and Mrs. West,

We are writing to you to give advice about how to prepare for travelling abroad. We will talk about travelling in Central Europe.

Firstly, we recommend you to be informed about what the weather will be like in this area, where you are going, because that can help you prepare most of the clothes. Secondly, you should know that there is no need to take any specific transport like a taxi because you can use public transport. It is cheaper and more effective. Also, you can get some useful information from passengers that could help you find some places that you should visit. The last thing but not the least important is money. Don’t take with you too much money in the local currency because if you change currency in your homeland you get less than if you change them in the place you go.

Another few things you must know, because it is very important, that if you go to Italy, Italians are very emotional people. Because they are very emotional, they cannot control themselves sometimes. So, if you are talking with them, carefully choose your words.

Best trip to you.

Yours Sincerely,

Fidan and Mike


Well, there you have it! I hope you (mom and anyone else who read it) enjoyed the letters!



Filed under Culture, Estonia, Places, Teaching, Travel

2 responses to “Travel Advice: Letters from my students

  1. Wow! I am so flattered that all of you would take the time to give us advice for our trip to Italy. What a wonderful birthday gift from Kimmy (or do you call her Ms. Bird?) and all of you! I’m sure she told you that we have never been outside of the US (except for a few adventures walking across the border into Tijuana, Mexico) and we are a little nervous about our ignorance to all things international.

    We will definitely eat gelato and avoid McDonalds. I will make sure steve doesn’t use ketchup. I don’t care for it. We don’t drink alcohol, so we might need some advice on how to tactfully turn it down.

    We will let them kiss our cheeks (even if we feel awkward) and try not to say anything that will trigger them screaming at us.

    We’ll ride the public transportation, avoid taxis, and definitely ride in a gondola.

    We will go to the Vatican to see St. Peters Basilica. My mother said that if we don’t go to Rome when visiting Italy, it would be like coming to Utah and not visiting our Temple Square or looking at our mountains.

    We will watch out for thieves and get money belts. We won’t get too much foreign money. We are hoping inflation in Europe doesn’t continue to climb over the next several months.

    And we will try to make this a very romantic trip for our 30th anniversary.

    Thank you, thank you, for the wonderful advice! Good luck on your exams!

  2. carcarcarty

    I can tell that kimmy and suzy are related. they type alot.

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