Youth programs – Cultural Kitchen and Community Walls
The Cultural Kitchen program’s exciting curriculum empowers youth to study a foreign country’s culture, culminating in a meal prepared by the group that is shared with travelers and is a great way to enhance an overnight stay at a hostel. Youth groups can complete the Cultural Kitchen program with guidance from their advisor, homework and cultural learning activities at the hostel.
“…When I learned about the huge differences in culture and ethnicity of different people, it gave me a huge outlook on people that I had never thought of before. I gained a lot of respect and caution as to what may offend other people. If every single person in Portland tried this program, I believe we would have an amazingly respectful and diverse city. I now have a much more broad view of the culture around me and how each individual person functions in line with their ethnic backgrounds.”
Avalon, Grade 9
“I met a man from India who said, ‘It’s time to become a global citizen,’ and he’s right.”
Jemiah J, Cultural Kitchen participant.
Strong Educational Standards
The Cultural Kitchen curriculum is provides a rewarding cross-cultural experience for participants. In their classrooms, students choose a country to study and choose a manner in which to present their research. Cultural learning exercises foster interest in cultural understanding, strengthen group communication skills, and teach students to explore the world and to appreciate the people in it. The culmination of the program occurs at the hostel when students cook a meal from their focus country, dine with travelers from around the world, engage travelers in a country presentation and experience an overnight at the hostel.
The following morning, students reflect on their experience and what they learned, thinking about how they can use cultural understanding to benefit their community and our world. Students who complete the Cultural Kitchen program continue to demonstrate enthusiasm for learning about new cultures and approach the world and its people with more open minds.
Teachers value Cultural Kitchen as a powerful, unique, and meaningful learning experience for their students.
“My students walked out with a more positive attitude about people they do not know. Cultural Kitchen aligns perfectly with my classroom. My focus is on group work and cultural awareness. This program allows my students to research various French-speaking countries as well as interact (something I cannot accomplish easily in the classroom). Many times the shyest student has the best conversations with hostel guests!”
Kim Gray, Benito Juarez High School teacher
One of the hallmarks of the hostelling experience is connecting travelers from different corners of the world to local people and culture. Community Walls helps kids answer the question “What is it like to live in your community?” through the creation of a piece of original artwork/mural. Students learn about different cultures and investigate their own and that of their neighborhood. HI staff facilitates the program in five sessions during an after school program or can help a teacher integrate the Community Wall curriculum to a teach interested in integrating this program into their own classroom curriculum. Culmination of the project is a special reception at either Portland hostel where participants can celebrate their achievements and share their stories with travelers.