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Before you travel...


Cultural immersion is a large part of what makes traveling to a foreign country so rewarding, but you can take in the culture before you even set foot on a plane.

Babbel, the shortest path to a real-life conversation in a new language, asked twenty foreign ambassadors from each Embassy to pick the book and film they believe first-time visitors to their country should consume before they arrive.

THE FULL LIST – you can find out more here:

Austria (Ambassador Wolfgang A. Waldner)

- Book: "The Tobacconist" (2012), by Robert Seethaler

- Film: "The Third Man" (1949), directed by Carol Reed


Azerbaijan (Ambassador Elin Suleymanov)

- Book: "Ali and Nino" (1937), by Kurban Said

- Film: "Ali and Nino" (2016), directed by Asif Kapadia


Bhutan (Ambassador Kunzang C. Namgyel)

- Book: "Treasures of the Thunder Dragon: A Portrait of Bhutan" (2006), by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck

- Film: "Travelers and Magicians" (2003), directed by Khyentse Norbu


Canada (Ambassador David MacNaughton)

- Book: "With Faith and Goodwill: 150 years of Canada-U.S. Friendship" (2017), edited by Arthur Milnes

- Film: The selection of films from National Canadian Film Day's Top 150


Chile (Ambassador Juan Gabriel Valdés)

- Book: "La casa de los espíritus" (1982), by Isabel Allende

- Film: "No" (2012), directed by Pablo Larraín


Colombia (Ambassador Juan Carlos Pinzón)

- Book: "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1967) by Gabriel García Márquez

- Film: "Colombia, magia salvaje" (2015), directed by Mike Slee


Denmark (Ambassador Lars Gert Lose)

- Book: "Smilla's Sense of Snow" (1992), by Peter Høeg

- Film: "A Royal Affair" (2012), directed by Nikolaj Arcel


Estonia (Ambassador Eerik Marmei)

- Book: "The Man Who Spoke Snakish" (2007), by Andrus Kivirähk

- Film: "Lotte and the Moonstone Secret" (2011), directed by Heiki Ernits and Janno Põldma


Finland (Ambassador Kirsti Kauppi)

- Book: Moomin books (1945-1959), by Tove Jansson

- Film: "Tale of a Forest" (2012), directed by Kim Saarniluoto and Ville Suhonen


Germany (Ambassador Peter Wittig)

- Book: "Tschick" ("Why We Took the Car") (2010), by Wolfgang Herrndorf

- Film: "Good Bye Lenin!" (2003), directed by Wolfgang Becker


Greece (Ambassador Haris Lalacos)

- Book: "Freedom and Death" (1953), by Nikos Kazantzakis

- Film: "Zorba the Greek" (1964), directed by Mihalis Kakogiannis


Iceland (Ambassador Geir H. Haarde)

- Book: "Independent People" (1934), by Halldór Laxness

- Film: "Sigur Rós: Heima" (2007), directed by Dean DeBlois


Ireland (Ambassador Anne Anderson)

- Book: "TransAtlantic" (2013), by Colum McCann

- Film: "Once" (2007), directed by John Carney


India (Ambassador Navtej Sarna)

- Book: "Freedom at Midnight" (1975), by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins

- Film: "Monsoon Wedding" (2001) directed by Mira Nair


Jamaica (Ambassador Audrey Patrice Marks)

- Book: "Selected Poems" (2003), by Louise Bennett

- Film: "Cool Runnings" (1993), by Jon Turteltaub


Malta (Ambassador Pierre Clive Agius)

- Book: "In the Name of the Father (and of the Son)" (2010), by Immanuel Mifsud

- Film: "Limestone Cowboy" (2017), directed by Abigail Mallia


New Zealand (Ambassador Tim Groser)

- Book: "The Whale Rider" (1987), by Witi Ihimaera

- Film: "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" (2016), directed by Taika Waititi


Norway (Ambassador Kåre R. Aas)

- Book: Harry Hole series (1997-2017), by Jo Nesbø

- Film: "Kon-Tiki" (2012), directed by Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg


Slovenia (Ambassador Božo Cerar)

- Book: "I Saw Her That Night" (2010), by Drago Jančar

- Film: "Valley of Peace" (1956), directed by France Stiglic


Sweden (Ambassador Björn Lyrvall)

- Book: "Nordic Ways" (2016), by András Simonyi, edited by Debra Cagan

- Film: "A Man Called Ove" (2015), directed by Hannes Holm



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