V isn't always for Victory: Are you a savvy traveler?

Nearly 47 million Americans headed out of the country in 2012, be it merely over the border to Canada or Mexico or to destinations further afield, according to the US Commerce Department's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries. All of that international travel provides plenty of opportunity to deepen cross-cultural understanding, but it can also lead to humorous – or serious – misunderstandings as well. 

So before you head to passport control, take our quiz to make sure you've got the travel smarts to act diplomatically in cultures around the world. 

12. You find yourself hitchhiking in Almaty, Kazakhstan. What would be the best way to ensure that passing drivers actually stop to give you a ride?

Matt Rourke/AP/File

Clenched fist with a thumb sticking up or horizontally

Hand extended overhead, facing backward, pinky finger, with your pointer finger and thumb outstretched

Both arms waving overhead vigorously

One hand outstretched, palm open and facing downward

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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