Increasingly students from the affluent countries are going abroad as part of their "educational experience." Although students see these experiences as invaluable and believe that they have learned a lot, the anthropological literature suggests the opposite; that travel abroad has a greater impact on the hosts than on the visitors and that indeed travel abroad, far from leading to students becoming more open-minded or learning about the other, can reinforce their stereotypes. The standards in anthropology teach humility and the ability to learn from those in the host country. This short book can be read pre-departure and while abroad to provide the reader the practical and philosophical tools needed to create an enriched and mind-broadening experience.
Going Abroad: Traveling Like an Anthropologist is a treasure-trove of valuable information provided by a true expert. Whether your destination is an encampment on the outskirts of Lagos or a sophisticated European city or a tangled Amazonian jungle, you will get vastly more from the experience (and survive it, too, if you're going somewhere risky) if you read this book before setting out. I wish I'd had the benefit of Gordon's information before, rather than after, I went naively overseas and managed to get myself involved in a couple of civil wars. And if splendid, well-considered information isn't enough, this book is unfailingly fun to read. I recommend it very strongly.
-Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, Author of The Social Lives of Dogs and Tribe of the Tiger
“Full of pithy quotations, unusual observations, and culturally sensitive
wisdom, Going Abroad is a great resource for the armchair traveler. But
it’s essential reading for those who want to learn about themselves and
others as they venture into foreign lands. Packed with practical advice on
everything from the multiple uses of condoms to boxing muggers ears, Gordon’s
book surprises, delights, and educates. Don’t leave home without it!”
-Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World
“Part Philosophical primer and part practical guide, Going Abroad is a truly unusual and wonderful book. Written for those interested in “deep travel,” it brings a highly imaginative anthropological sensibility to the experience of modern tourism: to encounters with other places and other peoples that seek to go beyond the superficial, the stereotypical, the sugar-coated. Robert Gordon urges us to go abroad not just to consume “otherness,” but to engage – with the proper mix of critique and humility – in the sorts of exchanges that enable us to know both ourselves and others in new ways. This is a compelling read for anyone seriously interested in acquiring a deeper knowledge of the world at large.”
-John Comaroff, Professor of Anthropology, The University of Chicago