There is no guaranteed way to prepare completely for cross-cultural encounters. Talking with people who have had similar experiences often builds the excitement that accompanies such journeys, but what others felt and how they dealt with problems will seldom match what one finds on arrival. Reading about the politics and current events and exploring the local literature provide a perspective, but sometimes, the perspective is wide of the reality on the ground. Though every volunteer develops an individual approach to deal with each situation, common threads to successful adaptation include a willingness to communicate, a genuine receptivity to new ideas, and a ready sense of humor—all coupled with a healthy dose of humility.
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