I plan to take advantage of as many extras as possible (cooking classes, museum visits, etc.) to immerse myself in these cultures as much as possible. I am going to be open to every possible opportunity to explore places and interact with local people so I can get the most out of this special opportunity.
As a teacher of history/geography, I have had students prepare a "Festival of Nations" project each year to share with the school community and general public. I would propose creating a country project on the four countries (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, the "where will you be traveling" section only let me choose program) I will be visiting on this trip. I ask students to study and present about the country's food, monetary system/economy, political system, transportation, history, geography, music, ethnicity, cultural events, etc. For an action plan I would propose creating a project myself for display at this event. I would use photographs, video, knowledge obtained from taking cooking classes, CDs, and anything else I can bring home (in addition to what I will learn and experience) to create this project. I am excited about the concept of a limited itinerary so I have free time to explore with my wife as many aspects of these cultures as I can absorb. I would suspect that the scope of what I will expect from students and myself will expand as I embark on this experience and see these people and places first-hand.
Preparation During Travel
I have been reading as much as I can about all of the places we will be visiting. My Netflix account has been filled with documentaries about these countries and this region, and I've borrowed a number of travel videos from the local library to further background myself. I also took multiple screenshots with my iPad of information about these countries, and I plan to review those while I am traveling.