THE TRAVELING SEMINAR: AN EXPERIMENT IN CROSS-CULTURAL TOURISM AND EDUCATION IN TAIWAN

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Abstract

This article explores the anthropologist's role in facilitating and guiding international educational traveling seminars through interaction with local people, based on my experiences with such seminars in Taiwan. Since the late 1980s, the Taiwanese authorities have reviewed restricted space, converting it into scenic areas and national parks. Martial law was lifted, allowing for changes in the society and introducing a “green” consciousness concerned with examining local roots. In 1992, a method of tourism was developed in which the participants of traveling seminars visited places in Taiwan or other world locations expecting to (1) explore, (2) learn, (3) interact, (4) respect, (5) share qualitative feedback with one another, and (6) enjoy the process. When addressing a topic for discussion, such as cultural heritage or the environment, each member of such traveling seminars speaks in his or her own language to share with the group. That is to say, participants explore through travel as a learning process, interacting with others with concern and respect for differences, sharing experiences, and conversing in their mother tongues with translation assistance.

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