Many Americans complain that their employer doesn't provide much vacation. Internationally, Americans work longer hours and take fewer vacations than their pals across the pond in the UK, Germany and France. At the same time, Americans are woefully ignorant of world cultures. When you don't go outside,
it's easy to imagine that your home is the only thing in the world.
Politicians making decisions about international policy need to be informed and experienced when they work with other countries. How much do they know about the daily lives of citizens? If you placed them in a city or town of a foreign country they were making policies about, would they know what's happening? After a day, would they be able to tell you if anything is abnormal? Would they know whether the high prices in stores are normal? Would they know if the power outage is just from snafus in construction, old equipment or "insurgents?" Would they be able to tell from a glance if the group of radicals spreading their message are like so many door-to-door proselytizers and drywall salesmen, or if they had some sway in the community?
Traveling to another country and just walking around is one of the best ways to learn basic facts
It's also what tourists seem to do best.
I imagine a program where the government would sponsor paid or subsidized vacations in exchange for a report on what happens in another country. Each vacation would be organized around a set of questions. To be fully reimbursed, the 'tourist' would create a report that answers all the questions, complete with an itinerary, pictures or interviews. These questions could include anything pressing, like:
unrest / strife
After accepting the report and sending a check, the report could be uploaded on a public archive for citizens and politicians.
For example, what does a typical person in country X do during day?
What is first thing they do in morning?
Where do they go to work? How far away is it, and how do they get there?\
What if thier basement is flooded or the power is out?
Where and when do they shop? What do they buy and how How many people live in their house?
Where do their kids go to school? How much homework do they bring home? Do they spend time afterwards in extracurricular activities?
What gadgets do they have?