On the trip document for our international adventure travel trips, we always recommend books you might want to read in advance just to get prepared or get the feel of a country. But, in addition of course to packing, there are lots of other fun ways to "get ready" too. Here are some ideas.
1. See a movie that was filmed in the country. Even if the movie isn't all that great, you'll see the country. For example, I watched the Eiger Sanction before starting a hike in Switzerland (it might not have had realistic mountaineering content but the scenery was amazing).
2. Listen to a radio station in the country. The internet gives us access to radio stations all over the world these days. This website can be a good place to start: http://radio-locator.com/. It might be hard to find one in English but at least you'll hear what music they are listening to.
3. Listen to folk music from the country. Wikipedia defines folk music as"Any style of music which represents a community and can be sung/played by people who may or may not actually be trained musicians, using the instruments available to them." Every country has their version of folk music. Your library may be able to help with this and, if not, try iTunes.
4. Go to a restaurant that specializes in the country's cuisine. The growth of ethnic cuisine in major cities is one of the most fun things to happen on the dining scene. Even better, if your city has an area where immigrants from that country tend to live, try the local cafe. Of course often the cuisine has been Americanized - don't think the Chinese food in America bears any relationship to the food in China - but you're just doing this for fun anyway.
5. Try cooking a meal from that country. The availability of cookbooks that specialize in different country's cuisines is growing by leaps and bounds. And of course the internet has a treasure trove of recipes.
6. Learn a little bit of language from either a community ed class or from tapes. Of course you are not going to be fluent but hopefully you can avoid asking "Who is the bathroom"? In my experience most people in other countries appreciate the effort.
7. Read poetry from people who live there. Many times poetry can capture the feeling of a culture or the current mood in the country more quickly and completely than prose.
Whatever you choose, have fun with it. Tthis should not be one more thing on your To Do list- after al, you have enough on that already!