Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find websites and information, upcoming webinars, programs and events. FLO does not endorse organizations or companies linked-to in this blog, the views they express, or the products/services they offer. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOAskUT@state.gov.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Eighteen. Old enough to vote, old enough to join the Army. But does it make you an adult? When you’re overseas, things can get complicated.
Learn more about the cut-off ages for different State Department programs on FLO’s Children to Adult webpage.
Posted by Beth Payne on Monday, August 14th 2017 in the Fostering Resilience blog
Re-posted in the Foggy Bottom Rambles
For more information on resilience contact FSICTC@state.govor (703) 302-7407
With terror attacks constantly in the news, wars seeming to spread, and the number of refugees increasing, the world can appear to be a perilous place, especially for children. Children may also be impacted by events closer to home, whether it’s an incident at their school, crime in their city, or the death of a friend or family member.
The American Psychological Association provides some excellent advice on how to talk to kids about what is happening in the news or in their community. The conversation may not be easy, but taking a proactive stance and discussing difficult events in age-appropriate language can help a child feel safer and more secure. As much as adults may try to avoid difficult topics, children know when something sad or scary happens. If adults don’t talk to them about it, children may overestimate what is wrong or misunderstand adults’ silence. So, be the first to bring up the difficult topic. When parents tackle difficult conversations, they let their children know that they are available and supportive.
Here are some tips for talking to children about difficult news: Think about what you
want to say: It’s OK to practice in your head, to a mirror, or with another adult. Some advanced planning may make the discussion easier. You won’t have to think about it off the top of your head.
Find a quiet moment: Perhaps this is after dinner or while making the next day’s lunch.
Find a time and place where your child can be the center of your attention.
Find out what they know: For example, there was a shooting at a school or a bomb set off in another country. Ask them “What have you heard about this?” And then listen. Listen. Listen. And listen more.
Share your feelings with your child: It is OK to acknowledge your feelings with your children. They see you are human. They also get a chance to see that even though upset, you can pull yourself together and continue on. Parents hear it often: Be a role model. This applies to emotions, too.
Tell the truth: Lay out the facts at a level they can understand. You do not need to give graphic details.
Help young children understand: For example, you may need to have the conversation about what death means (no longer feel anything, not hungry, thirsty, scared, or hurting; we will never see them again, but can hold their memories in our hearts and heads).
Say, I don’t know: Sometimes the answer to a question is “I don’t know” and that’s OK. For example, if asked “why did the bad people do this,” “I don’t know” fits.
Above all, reassure: At the end of the conversation, reassure your children that you will do everything you know how to do to keep them safe and to watch out for them. Reassure them that you will be available to answer any questions or talk about this topic again in the future. Reassure them that they are loved. Also explain that the U.S. government is working diligently to protect them and, if you are overseas, ex
It is easy to become a victim if you don’t know what scams to
Some people work in professions devoted to
helping people, while some work with the sole purpose of taking advantage of
others. It may be hard to believe someone would devote time and resources to
con and rob tourists, however due to the influx of global tourism, it is
becoming more and more common for criminals to exploit unprepared travelers.
These criminals are professionals, working full time in the booming travel scam
industry. Although there are countless travel scams, I will focus on the top
Distraction Crime: The favorite tool for a criminal is
distraction, often used with more than one criminal. If they can distract you
and get your wallet, passport, camera or luggage, they can make some easy
money. One commonly used scam is “something on your shirt” a bird poop or food,
then a nice person appears to help you. They are nice and friendly. Meanwhile their
accomplice is robbing you of your valuables. Most often you will not be aware
that you have been robbed until you reach for your wallet for your next
purchase. How to Avoid This Scam: Understand if something is on your clothing
and someone is trying to help, you have been targeted. They will be coming in
for their payday. Don’t allow the person to help. Make sure you keep possession
of your backpack and luggage. Always keep your money and passport in a money belt
under your clothes.
Wrong change back: When paying you will have to be on top of
calculating your purchase. Shop keepers, street venders and restaurant
employees have been known to give less change back. This is easy money. Their
perception, especially of Americans, is that you must be so rich you don’t need
to count your money, so you will not be paying attention to the amount
How to Avoid This Scam: Before traveling learn about the currency
and the exchange rates in the country you will be visiting and always count
your change. When paying always say in a loud voice the denomination of money
as you give it out. Sometimes the vendor will claim you didn’t give them
the right amount of money or return the wrong difference.
Can you take my picture? Criminal organizations usually operate with
multiple members and target tourists with luggage that is in demand. They will
stop you and ask if you can take their picture and once you set down your
luggage their accomplice will be moving in to take your belongings. It will
only be after the pictures have been taken that you will realize your luggage
has gone missing.
How to Avoid This Scam: If someone asks you to take a picture and
you have luggage say no. Don’t feel bad, they can ask someone else to be their
Free bracelet: A friendly person will engage you in conversation and
generously offer to give you a free friendship bracelet. They will place the
bracelet on your wrist and tie a knot, which can’t be undone Once it is on your
wrist they will demand money. If you refuse, they will cause a scene.
How to Avoid This Scam: There is no such thing as a free gift,
especially when it involves a tourist. Do not accept any gifts from strangers
and don”t let anyone tie anything to your wrist or place anything on your body.
You will find this scam in areas most commonly frequented by tourists.
Beggar Gangs: Organized criminals will use children, blind, deaf and
pregnant women to collect money. Most often the money collected is taken by the
criminals and the beggar is payed a small fee.
How to Avoid This Scam: Don’t give money to strangers. It is
impossible to distinguish between those truly in need and criminal gangs
operating as beggars.
Understanding local scams and crime trends
before traveling can help tourists from being victimized. The more you know,
the less likely you will fall victim to a scam. Criminals are always on the
hunt for an easy target. Stay safe, stay alert and you will have a much more
enjoyable travel experience.