Cross Cultural Journeys Blog

Cross Cultural Journeys Travel Partnerships - making the world a little better together!

About a year ago, CCJ entered an exciting partnership with our local youth soccer club Bainbridge Island Football Club; BIFC. They approached us to ask if we could take on organizing a soccer youth tour to England, the birthplace of "football".  BIFC's brought together 31 young boys and girls, three soccer coaches, 10 chaperones and two CCJ trip managers to make it all happen. 46 of us traveled to Manchester, England from March 28 until April 7. As part of BIFC's player development pathway, this first trip that from hereon out will be a yearly event, is an example of a partnership at its' best. A co-creation from start to finish!

Partnerships with likeminded organizations like the one we just did with BIFC is not only a fun way to explore the world with another entity and their members, it also brings out the highest and best in us; which makes the work easy on the way there; and the final experience in country that much better.

Our partnership journeys typically follow some kind of theme - like in the case of the one we just returned from - sports - for example. But it can also be in the realm of arts like our trips with North Carolina's Arts and Science Council; peace building and consciousness focused excursions like the one we did with the SHIFT network to Iran in the fall of 2016; environmentally focused trips about ocean conservation and protection like the one we did with the Ocean Doctor to Cuba a couple years ago; and maybe most prevalent; our music journeys with luminaries like Taj Mahal, Roger Glenn, and this coming December, grammy award winning Jon Cleary.

The Jon Cleary Music Project  to Havana in December is open to the public, and run in partnership with Horns to Havana; a US based non-profit that helps promote musical exchanges and help restore and bring musical instruments to Cuba.

Some common attributes our partners share: they care about their fellow human; they are conscientious about our one, shared planet; they are kind and respectful of people and their differences; they are intrigued and curious about how and why people do things differently than we do...seek to understand before being understood. They tend to also have a deep seeded drive for social justice and that all people are created equally. They are not confined and constricted behind a wall of a sole world view. The 'not knowing' doesn't cause fear and judgement; it creates an openness to the mystery of what people in other cultures can teach us.

CCJ likes to partner with organizations that have an affinity to build bridges to people of other cultures, through some form of shared activity and with an interest in making the world a little better in the process.

 

Together, we have a curiosity of other cultures and their ways of doing things; we are interested in expanding our knowledge of whatever it is we are there for; finding out how people in different cultures organize themselves; and maybe most importantly, our partner organizations explore and get a better and more holistic understanding of their owb core mission. And, maybe needless to say, these journeys are a lot of fun!

The youth on our recent England adventure trained and played against local English youth teams; attended four premier league games; enjoyed walking tours of Manchester, the once Viking settlement of York and historic Chester. Part of the proceeds of the trip went to Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation to sponsor the Michael Carrick Foundation, a local inner city project to support at risk youth "football" as they call it in England.

We stayed at the Manchester Youth Hostel, in a refurbished redbrick building in the downtown Manchester Canal district.

The journey created memories of a lifetime for all involved, especially our young soccer players! An experience they will never forget!

 

Another recent partnership "behind the scenes", was a Stewardship Circle to Mexico City and Guadalajara, with Massachusetts based Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC). Shortly before the winter holidays, UUSC called CCJ to help bring forth a trip to Mexico City and Guadalajara for some of their main sponsors and donors.

We brought 15 of UUSC's donors South of the border to visit their partner organizations and learn about their important work with the refugee and migration situation,  a growing problem in Mexico, in Central and South America.

As CCJ did not send along our own trip manager on this journey, we spoke with Kate Friedman and Cassandra Ryan from UUSC after their return, to hear how it went:

1. Please tell us about UUSC’s international donor programs in general. What is your main goal for such programs? Is there a specific theme or issue that you focus on for each country?
The goal of UUSC’s Stewardship Circle trips is to provide UUSC supporters with an opportunity to meet with our grassroots partners. We hope that trip participants will learn about the work of our partners and hearing directly from people on the ground helping to make real and lasting change. On this particular trip our focus was on UUSC’s migrant justice portfolio. In the past trips have focused on our refugee crisis response in Eastern Europe, our environmental justice work in Ecuador and our human rights work in Burma. On every trip we also like to schedule time for our trip participants to visit tourist sites and learn about the history and culture of the places we travel to.

 

2. Tell us about your Mexico program in a little bit more detail, and a little bit about your partner organizations there? What is the main mission in UUSC’s work with and in Mexico?
During the trip we visited 4 different grassroots organizations working on issues of migrant justice. Two of the organizations were shelters for migrants fleeing violence and economic persecution in their home countries. Another organization was focused on providing legal and social support to migrants wishing to seek asylum in Mexico. The final partner we met with is focused on tracking the forced disappearance of migrants and providing legal support to family members of disappeared migrants.

 

3. How long have you worked with these organizations in Mexico? How did you find them? Are they Mexican-run, or run and founded by people from other countries? What intercultural challenges do you face when working with organizations in Mexico?

On average we’ve partnered with these organizations for three or so years. We rely on the expertise of our staff and their human rights networks to identify our partners. The organizations we visited with are all Mexican run. As an organization we strive to understand cross-cultural differences and approach our work from an intersectional lens. Obviously language can sometimes be a barrier, but we try to use translation services as often as possible and several of our staff members are fluent Spanish speakers.

 

4.  What in your opinion is the most important piece of a stewardship circle like you just did? 

I believe the most important piece of these types of trips is the connections our supporters are able to make with our partners. Being able to visit our partners offices, ask questions and have the opportunity to informally chat about human rights and social justice is just so important. 

...U.S. policy is so intertwined with the experience of migrants in Mexico that it is particularly important that US constituents understand these issues and can translate their new understanding into action. We also run an advocacy program that helps our members take action on migrant justice issues within their own communities.

 

5. How would you compare UUSC’s international donor journeys and work in the world to an ‘old-fashion’ regular ‘charity/giving' program?

 UUSC employs a grassroots eye-to-eye partnership model. We do not feel as though we are charity or a giving program, but instead an organization striving to partner with other organizations who are working towards similar goals....we work in coalition with others to uplift issues of human rights and social justice.

 

6. Please tell us about the trip you just returned from. What was the most memorable experience and why? What was the biggest challenge? What did you learn on this journey, both personally as an organization, and professionally, that you are taking back home?
The trip we just returned from was truly informative and deeply moving. Having the opportunity to learn first-hand about the challenges migrants are facing and witnessing the incredible work our partners are doing to help provide support to people trying to have a better life was so important. My most memorable experience was meeting with a woman who fled Honduras with her husband and seven children due to gang violence. She was grateful to have a place to stay in the shelter of our partner and was hoping to continue further north to create a better livelihood for her family.  On this journey, I learned a great deal about the history of Mexico and really enjoyed my time exploring the sites of Mexico City and Guadalajara. I also learned how incredibly privileged I am to be able to quickly and easily cross borders and how fortunate I am to have a great deal of economic opportunities. I’m taking back home the stories of the migrants we met and will continue to advocate for changes in U.S. immigration policy. 

If you think your organization would benefit from an international experience or exchange, like the soccer trip we just returned from with BIFC, or more "self-led" journey we helped UUSC put together, don't hesitate to send Cilla an email directly at: cilla@crossculturaljourneys.com; or call our office (800) 353-2276.

We would love to make it happen for you!

 

New Travel Series: Cross Cultural Journeys Signature Experiences

Cuba2018-1030

Photo by Lara Leimbach Photography

Posted by Cilla Utne, February 18, 2019

We are excited to announce the launch our new travel series - Cross Cultural Journeys Signature Experiences!

CCJ Signature Experiences are unique. 

These journeys may not be for everyone. Building on the important pillars and cornerstones of Cross Cultural Journeys and our sister organization Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation, there are some familiar themes that are re-occurring from our close to three decades of travel, as well as some new, self-reflective activities.

Several signature components will go into each trip:

1. Cilla, President of CCJ as your journey leader. I'm so excited to launch this series! These experiences will be facilitated by Yours Truly - yes, ME! I draw from two decades as a cross-cultural trainer and world traveler who is passionate about intercultural exchanges. I partner with with a local, bi-lingual in-country guide to create a in-depth cultural exploration.
2. Daily Reflection Circles.
You will have a chance for daily contemplation, reflection and dialogue with your fellow travelers about how the culture shows up for you. What do you learn? What surprises you? What challenges you? Most importantly - what do you love about it?
3. Immerse yourself into the local community.
We are connecting with the local people, on a human-to-human level, so that we can learn directly from them in their own culture. We seek to understand, before we try to be understood. We are open to learn about cultural differences and new experiences.
4. Travel in a smaller group. 
We will cap these trips at 12 people, to keep it to an intimate environment where individual attention and self-reflection are important aspects of each day.
5. Stay with the locals. Travelers stay in rustic, but clean and comfortable accommodations, that are locally owned and run by the people in the town or village. In some cases, they could be boutique style, smaller hotels; and in some cases, even home stays. We will avoid large, 'cookie cutter' hotels, to the extent it is possible.
6. Eat what they eat. We will visit locally owned restaurants; that serve nutritious and healthy foods rooted in the cooking traditions and flavors of the host culture.
7. Learn from indigenous roots. Whenever possible, or journeys include a connection with its' indigenous culture and people. We learn from their original practices and find out how they connect to themselves, their land, and their spiritual ceremonies, beliefs and rituals.

Our signature experiences will allow for:

...a spacious itinerary where we first and foremost will “follow the breadcrumbs” and serendipity of each moment
… space for openness and understanding of people in other cultures, their way of living, understand their hardships, as well as what brings them joy
...space for lingering when we discover a cultural gem
…space for contemplation and introspection about how this experience is enriching your life or transforming your ideas, on your own, and with your fellow travelers
… space for developing conversations and connections to enrich your life forever
....openness to the magic, mystery and serendipity that so often happens when you surrender yourself in the experience of the unfamiliar
…. space for authentic connection, dialogues you’ve never had before
....provide an opportunity to enter into conversations you’d never have the chance to have before, with people in your daily life at home
....a lifelong connection with the people and their culture, that from this day on will form an important part of your life's fabric of experiences.

If you think you are the kind of world traveler who would enjoy our CCJ Signature Experiences, please call our office (800) 353-2276 today to ask what we have coming up, or email me directly at cilla@crossculturaljourneys.com. We will look forward to hearing from you!

Interview with Jazz Master Roger Glenn, Journey Host to CCJ's Havana Jazz Fest Jan 16-21, 2019

CCJ_Friends_Havana_24_1116_Tropicana

Posted by Cilla Utne, September 25th, 2018

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege to lead a trip to Cuba blues guitar Maestro Taj Mahal and friends. It was a musical and photographic intercultural experience that the 40 travelers will never forget! We are very excited to be running a similar, yet more intimate trip to the Havana Jazz Festival this January, hosted by Taj's good friend on his quartet, wind instrumentalist and jazz master Roger Glenn.

We had a little chat with Roger about his connection to Cuba, its' people and music. Here is what he had to say.....

CCJ: What is your invitation for people traveling with you on this extraordinary journey?

RG: A great opportunity to travel to Cuba and also attend the Havana Jazz Festival with myself (a 3rd-generation jazz master), you'll see and hear the mutual connections of the roots of Afro Cuban music, and American Jazz.

CCJ: What are your favorite places of music in Havana?
RG: "La Zorra Y El Cuervo, which is the club around the corner from the Nacional Hotel, every street corner and restaurants have musicians performing, the Corner Cafe where we jammed with Taj and the locals, and every day/night at the Nacional garden terrace. Fabrica de Arte Cubano in Havana was an amazing place not only for their different music venues within but all the art installations as well. We can carry-on about Jazz all day and into the night. There is a lot of history to be shared, and this being my 5th trip to Cuba - since the 1980s - I've an understanding of the people, culture, music, dance which I'm all very passionate about."

CCJ: What will the travelers have the honor of learning directly from you during this trip? With whom have you played there, and with whom might you be playing?

RG: "I'll share my sense of the history of Afro Cuban music, and the religious influence of Santeria in the music which also encompasses the dance. I look forward to sharing my observations on how their lifestyle has transitioned from the 1980s to today. In Matanzas we'll talk about the history of the dock workers and the origins of Rhumba. Hopefully we will get to meet up with Cuban maestro Bobby Carcasses, with whom I recorded with on our last trip in 2016 for his "Blues con Montuno" album."

"In Matanzas we'll talk about the history of the dock workers and the origins of Rhumba."

CCJ: What would you say to anybody who might be hesitating going to Cuba for political reasons?

RG: "While we have the advantage to go to Cuba right now, you can see with your own eyes there are no threats to American people. We're the only country that has this embargo and the rest of the world goes there as a summer resort. 

CCJ: What do you love about the Cuban people in general, and about Cuban musicians in particular? 

RG: "The Cuban people are so very warm and welcoming wherever you go. The musicians that I've sat in with and recorded with are amazing players whether you are on the street corner or in the recording studio or club. The student musicians we've met are so dedicated to the music, they are phenomenal musicians with less distractions than many young students have here in the US."

CCJ: Tell us about the Cuban food?

RG: "I like the Cuban sandwich as Sloppy Joe's, and Beth (Roger's wife) loved the chicken dinner at El Aljibe, served family style we had the first night at the open air restaurant, and the mixed-grill lunch we had in Cojimar."

CCJ: What else would you like to tell people who have not yet been to Cuba, but who might be considering going on this trip?

RG: "Imagine a warm tropical vacation in January filled with music, new cultural experience, great accommodations, traveling with a group of Jazz lovers!"

If you, or anybody you know is interested in joining us for this intimate immersive music journey to Cuba with Roger Glenn as your private host, please register directly at the Havana Jazz Fest Journey Page. Space is limited to 15 people and we are currently (Sept 25) about two thirds full.

If you have questions about the trip. please contact me directly at cilla@crossculturaljourneys.com.

Presidio Graduate School Field Study in Emilia Romagna, Italy, July 8-14, 2018

PRESIDIO

Cheese! Presidio Graduate students of Cooparative Management visiting the Parmesano Reggiano (yes, that parmesan cheese!) facility in Emilia Romagna.

Posted by Cilla Utne, July 29, 2018
Cross Cultural Journeys aim is (and always has been) to make sure that we during our journeys seek to find our common humanity, without diminishing our very diverse and important values differences across cultures. The most important aspect of such journeys beging with how we ourselves understand our very own cultural and personal contexts, in which we live our daily lives. We then learn from our neighbors around the planet, weather they are near or far from home, to listen, understand, sit, and observe, before jumping in with our own ideas and previous experiences. Our recent trips and our many upcoming exiting itineraries are doing just that: reflecting and dialouging with local people, being invited to eat their best local foods, staying in traditional but comfortable accomodations, and spending a lot of time on just leaning in and learning from who and what is around us. We can call it less ‘tourism’, and more cultural immersion and deep dive.

In that vein, our field study to the heart of the cooperative region of Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy with Presidio Graduate School earlier this month was a big hit, and I think we will be welcomed back J. A unique offering in CCJ’s trip roster, this is the only Master’s level course in the United States on Cooperative Management offered by Presidio, and we are thrilled to be able to provide a three dimensional and very dymanic content for the course. We even included a couple of my former professors in intercultural conciousness - Milton Bennett and Ida Castiglioni - in a conversation about what it means to learn and absorb information in a cultural context that is different from the one we are used to, different from home. You can read more about our visit in this article, published by one of our local Italian hosts at Legacoop.

If you, or anybody you know is interested in setting up an intercultural learning tour or field study for your college or graduate class, please contact me directly at cilla@crossculturaljourneys.com. We can without a doubt make that happen!

Posted by Leif Utne on July 3, 2018

The Mayan Cosmovision

Guest blog post by Hilda Resch, of Tulan Kan: The base of the ancient Mayan wisdom is their calendar, the Tzol-Kin. A month has 20 days and each day carries a specific quality. All their knowledge and wisdom comes from observation of nature, so the “20 Nawales” as they call these 20 days are archetypical

Posted by Cilla Utne on January 31, 2018

Contribute Your Stories to Carole’s New Travel Book!

Carole Angermeir and her husband Wilford Welsh in Cuba, 2015. Dear CCJ travelers, Travel is a wonderful opportunity…to dream new dreams, try on a new persona, experience new cultures, make new friends and to experience exotic places. Travel always creates an opportunity to learn more about yourself, and others. You can fall in love with

Posted by Leif Utne on November 21, 2017

Good News: Cuba Travel is Still Legal

On November 9, the Trump administration issued new rules on travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens. The good news: Cuba travel is still completely safe and legal. There were no big surprises in the new rules. The same 12 categories of legal travel under the U.S. trade embargo still apply, including the popular “people-to-people” educational

Posted by Leif Utne on October 27, 2017

Cuba: Still the Safest Country for U.S. Travelers

Cuba is the safest country in the western hemisphere (and possibly the world) for foreign travelers, despite the recent reports of health incidents affecting U.S. diplomats in Havana. In addition to taking thousands of Americans to the island since 1998, Cross Cultural Journeys has led trips to over 30 countries around the globe over 3

Posted by Leif Utne on October 4, 2017

Statement Regarding US State Department Warning on Cuba Travel and Drawdown of Embassy Staff

Cross Cultural Journeys condemns the US State Department’s September 29 advisory warning Americans to avoid traveling to Cuba due to the “sonic attacks” that have reportedly affected the health of 21 US embassy personnel in Havana. The State Department has also ordered 60% of its Havana staff to return to the US immediately. These bizarre

New Travel Series: Cross Cultural Journeys Signature Experiences

Cuba2018-1030

Photo by Lara Leimbach Photography

Posted by Cilla Utne, February 18, 2019

We are excited to announce the launch our new travel series - Cross Cultural Journeys Signature Experiences!

CCJ Signature Experiences are unique. 

These journeys may not be for everyone. Building on the important pillars and cornerstones of Cross Cultural Journeys and our sister organization Cross Cultural Journeys Foundation, there are some familiar themes that are re-occurring from our close to three decades of travel, as well as some new, self-reflective activities.

Several signature components will go into each trip:

1. Cilla, President of CCJ as your journey leader. I'm so excited to launch this series! These experiences will be facilitated by Yours Truly - yes, ME! I draw from two decades as a cross-cultural trainer and world traveler who is passionate about intercultural exchanges. I partner with with a local, bi-lingual in-country guide to create a in-depth cultural exploration.
2. Daily Reflection Circles.
You will have a chance for daily contemplation, reflection and dialogue with your fellow travelers about how the culture shows up for you. What do you learn? What surprises you? What challenges you? Most importantly - what do you love about it?
3. Immerse yourself into the local community.
We are connecting with the local people, on a human-to-human level, so that we can learn directly from them in their own culture. We seek to understand, before we try to be understood. We are open to learn about cultural differences and new experiences.
4. Travel in a smaller group. 
We will cap these trips at 12 people, to keep it to an intimate environment where individual attention and self-reflection are important aspects of each day.
5. Stay with the locals. Travelers stay in rustic, but clean and comfortable accommodations, that are locally owned and run by the people in the town or village. In some cases, they could be boutique style, smaller hotels; and in some cases, even home stays. We will avoid large, 'cookie cutter' hotels, to the extent it is possible.
6. Eat what they eat. We will visit locally owned restaurants; that serve nutritious and healthy foods rooted in the cooking traditions and flavors of the host culture.
7. Learn from indigenous roots. Whenever possible, or journeys include a connection with its' indigenous culture and people. We learn from their original practices and find out how they connect to themselves, their land, and their spiritual ceremonies, beliefs and rituals.

Our signature experiences will allow for:

...a spacious itinerary where we first and foremost will “follow the breadcrumbs” and serendipity of each moment
… space for openness and understanding of people in other cultures, their way of living, understand their hardships, as well as what brings them joy
...space for lingering when we discover a cultural gem
…space for contemplation and introspection about how this experience is enriching your life or transforming your ideas, on your own, and with your fellow travelers
… space for developing conversations and connections to enrich your life forever
....openness to the magic, mystery and serendipity that so often happens when you surrender yourself in the experience of the unfamiliar
…. space for authentic connection, dialogues you’ve never had before
....provide an opportunity to enter into conversations you’d never have the chance to have before, with people in your daily life at home
....a lifelong connection with the people and their culture, that from this day on will form an important part of your life's fabric of experiences.

If you think you are the kind of world traveler who would enjoy our CCJ Signature Experiences, please call our office (800) 353-2276 today to ask what we have coming up, or email me directly at cilla@crossculturaljourneys.com. We will look forward to hearing from you!

Interview with Jazz Master Roger Glenn, Journey Host to CCJ's Havana Jazz Fest Jan 16-21, 2019

CCJ_Friends_Havana_24_1116_Tropicana

Posted by Cilla Utne, September 25th, 2018

A couple of years ago, I had the privilege to lead a trip to Cuba blues guitar Maestro Taj Mahal and friends. It was a musical and photographic intercultural experience that the 40 travelers will never forget! We are very excited to be running a similar, yet more intimate trip to the Havana Jazz Festival this January, hosted by Taj's good friend on his quartet, wind instrumentalist and jazz master Roger Glenn.

We had a little chat with Roger about his connection to Cuba, its' people and music. Here is what he had to say.....

CCJ: What is your invitation for people traveling with you on this extraordinary journey?

RG: A great opportunity to travel to Cuba and also attend the Havana Jazz Festival with myself (a 3rd-generation jazz master), you'll see and hear the mutual connections of the roots of Afro Cuban music, and American Jazz.

CCJ: What are your favorite places of music in Havana?
RG: "La Zorra Y El Cuervo, which is the club around the corner from the Nacional Hotel, every street corner and restaurants have musicians performing, the Corner Cafe where we jammed with Taj and the locals, and every day/night at the Nacional garden terrace. Fabrica de Arte Cubano in Havana was an amazing place not only for their different music venues within but all the art installations as well. We can carry-on about Jazz all day and into the night. There is a lot of history to be shared, and this being my 5th trip to Cuba - since the 1980s - I've an understanding of the people, culture, music, dance which I'm all very passionate about."

CCJ: What will the travelers have the honor of learning directly from you during this trip? With whom have you played there, and with whom might you be playing?

RG: "I'll share my sense of the history of Afro Cuban music, and the religious influence of Santeria in the music which also encompasses the dance. I look forward to sharing my observations on how their lifestyle has transitioned from the 1980s to today. In Matanzas we'll talk about the history of the dock workers and the origins of Rhumba. Hopefully we will get to meet up with Cuban maestro Bobby Carcasses, with whom I recorded with on our last trip in 2016 for his "Blues con Montuno" album."

"In Matanzas we'll talk about the history of the dock workers and the origins of Rhumba."

CCJ: What would you say to anybody who might be hesitating going to Cuba for political reasons?

RG: "While we have the advantage to go to Cuba right now, you can see with your own eyes there are no threats to American people. We're the only country that has this embargo and the rest of the world goes there as a summer resort. 

CCJ: What do you love about the Cuban people in general, and about Cuban musicians in particular? 

RG: "The Cuban people are so very warm and welcoming wherever you go. The musicians that I've sat in with and recorded with are amazing players whether you are on the street corner or in the recording studio or club. The student musicians we've met are so dedicated to the music, they are phenomenal musicians with less distractions than many young students have here in the US."

CCJ: Tell us about the Cuban food?

RG: "I like the Cuban sandwich as Sloppy Joe's, and Beth (Roger's wife) loved the chicken dinner at El Aljibe, served family style we had the first night at the open air restaurant, and the mixed-grill lunch we had in Cojimar."

CCJ: What else would you like to tell people who have not yet been to Cuba, but who might be considering going on this trip?

RG: "Imagine a warm tropical vacation in January filled with music, new cultural experience, great accommodations, traveling with a group of Jazz lovers!"

If you, or anybody you know is interested in joining us for this intimate immersive music journey to Cuba with Roger Glenn as your private host, please register directly at the Havana Jazz Fest Journey Page. Space is limited to 15 people and we are currently (Sept 25) about two thirds full.

If you have questions about the trip. please contact me directly at cilla@crossculturaljourneys.com.

Presidio Graduate School Field Study in Emilia Romagna, Italy, July 8-14, 2018

PRESIDIO

Cheese! Presidio Graduate students of Cooparative Management visiting the Parmesano Reggiano (yes, that parmesan cheese!) facility in Emilia Romagna.

Posted by Cilla Utne, July 29, 2018
Cross Cultural Journeys aim is (and always has been) to make sure that we during our journeys seek to find our common humanity, without diminishing our very diverse and important values differences across cultures. The most important aspect of such journeys beging with how we ourselves understand our very own cultural and personal contexts, in which we live our daily lives. We then learn from our neighbors around the planet, weather they are near or far from home, to listen, understand, sit, and observe, before jumping in with our own ideas and previous experiences. Our recent trips and our many upcoming exiting itineraries are doing just that: reflecting and dialouging with local people, being invited to eat their best local foods, staying in traditional but comfortable accomodations, and spending a lot of time on just leaning in and learning from who and what is around us. We can call it less ‘tourism’, and more cultural immersion and deep dive.

In that vein, our field study to the heart of the cooperative region of Emilia Romagna in Northern Italy with Presidio Graduate School earlier this month was a big hit, and I think we will be welcomed back J. A unique offering in CCJ’s trip roster, this is the only Master’s level course in the United States on Cooperative Management offered by Presidio, and we are thrilled to be able to provide a three dimensional and very dymanic content for the course. We even included a couple of my former professors in intercultural conciousness - Milton Bennett and Ida Castiglioni - in a conversation about what it means to learn and absorb information in a cultural context that is different from the one we are used to, different from home. You can read more about our visit in this article, published by one of our local Italian hosts at Legacoop.

If you, or anybody you know is interested in setting up an intercultural learning tour or field study for your college or graduate class, please contact me directly at cilla@crossculturaljourneys.com. We can without a doubt make that happen!

Posted by Leif Utne on July 3, 2018

The Mayan Cosmovision

Guest blog post by Hilda Resch, of Tulan Kan: The base of the ancient Mayan wisdom is their calendar, the Tzol-Kin. A month has 20 days and each day carries a specific quality. All their knowledge and wisdom comes from observation of nature, so the “20 Nawales” as they call these 20 days are archetypical

Posted by Cilla Utne on January 31, 2018

Contribute Your Stories to Carole’s New Travel Book!

Carole Angermeir and her husband Wilford Welsh in Cuba, 2015. Dear CCJ travelers, Travel is a wonderful opportunity…to dream new dreams, try on a new persona, experience new cultures, make new friends and to experience exotic places. Travel always creates an opportunity to learn more about yourself, and others. You can fall in love with

Posted by Leif Utne on November 21, 2017

Good News: Cuba Travel is Still Legal

On November 9, the Trump administration issued new rules on travel to Cuba for U.S. citizens. The good news: Cuba travel is still completely safe and legal. There were no big surprises in the new rules. The same 12 categories of legal travel under the U.S. trade embargo still apply, including the popular “people-to-people” educational

Posted by Leif Utne on October 27, 2017

Cuba: Still the Safest Country for U.S. Travelers

Cuba is the safest country in the western hemisphere (and possibly the world) for foreign travelers, despite the recent reports of health incidents affecting U.S. diplomats in Havana. In addition to taking thousands of Americans to the island since 1998, Cross Cultural Journeys has led trips to over 30 countries around the globe over 3

Posted by Leif Utne on October 4, 2017

Statement Regarding US State Department Warning on Cuba Travel and Drawdown of Embassy Staff

Cross Cultural Journeys condemns the US State Department’s September 29 advisory warning Americans to avoid traveling to Cuba due to the “sonic attacks” that have reportedly affected the health of 21 US embassy personnel in Havana. The State Department has also ordered 60% of its Havana staff to return to the US immediately. These bizarre

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