How to Be an American Tourist

By Veritas Student Nikki M., University of Maryland, Baltimore County

empanada…in ten easy steps (Chilean edition)

  1. Always stick together. Make sure to walk in large groups. Talk, yell, joke, and laugh as loudly as you can.
  2. Take your time in hot showers every morning, and leave the lights on whenever you leave a room.
  3. Whatever you do, do not look up directions before you go out. Familiarize yourself with your flashy new iPhone 5´s map as you are walking around, and pay no attention to the surrounding crowd of people.
  4. When you finish a meal at a restaurant, take out all of your money, count it for everyone to see, motion the waiter away for twenty minutes as you calculate tips with your friends, and pay in the largest bills you have.
  5. Take pictures, SO many pictures – of the bus, of the walls, of yourself, and especially of food. You must have a photo of every meal.
  6. Forget that foreign elevators are smaller than any in the States. You can totally fit fourteen young people in a space meant for six. Just pretend not to understand when the hotel manager complains that his elevator no longer stops level to each floor.
  7. Natives have no appreciation for animals. You must show love to every stray dog you see. Scratch their flea-infested necks.
  8. Take one sip of your water and then spit it out, realizing you’ve forgotten to order water “sin gas” (it is carbonated).
  9. The exotic tan you hope to have is so worth your itching bright red, peeling skin for weeks. Ignore the advisories about the overhead hole in the ozone layer.
  10. Assume everyone knows or at least is learning English. When someone addresses you in Spanish, simply respond in English.

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