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Celebrates the Cultural Spice of Life!

Detailed Program Overview

Every Cultural Kitchen program, no matter how it’s structured, has the same components. I begin the first session by establishing guidelines for respect, participation and safety. Then the students get a chance to move around and explore their new surroundings while learning about hostelling in the Hostel Scavenger Hunt. Next, everyone shares a country they’ve chosen that begins with the same letter as their first name in our “ice breaker” activity that also serves to expose the students to some of the countries they can choose to study. When the time comes for the students to choose their focus country, they cast their ballots about three times in order to narrow down the choices to just one. Finally, the youth participants are asked to write or draw what they already know-or think they know-about the country they’ve collectively chosen.

The second and third sessions are less structured but almost always involve: discussing what is culture and what are our cultures, conducting searches on the internet for information about the focus culture and presenting what was learned in visual and oral formats. Requirements in these two sessions are already part of the elementary and high schools’ curricula. Therefore, many teachers are incorporating Cultural Kitchen into their classrooms to enhance their lessons. For community service organizations, Cultural Kitchen is an enjoyable opportunity for youth to apply and reinforce what is learned in school.

Group leaders, students, and hostellers alike look forward to making the cultural dinner on the night of the students’ overnight. That evening also involves the youth in conversation with hostel guests, which many of them continue “hanging out” with even after the dinner and presentations are finished. The following morning the youth and their leaders share what they learned about their focus country and also about their one-night hostelling experience. At this time each student gives an evaluation of the program and receives their Hostelling International-USA Youth Membership, Cultural Kitchen T-shirt and Ethnic Chicago book.

Last but certainly not least, the Peace Festival brings together all of the previous year’s Cultural Kitchen leaders and participants to celebrate the variety of world cultures and to showcase what students have researched. The 2002-2003 Cultural Kitchen Peace Festival is scheduled for Saturday, June 7th, 2003 at Hostelling International – Chicago from 10am-2pm. It will include workshops on AfriCaribe dancing, European bread making, Asian cultural and peace history, and multicultural stories integrated with art and music. Come and see the Cultural Kitchen program’s results for yourself!


Cultural Kitchen Index

Who to Contact

For more information or to schedule your next Cultural Kitchen program, please contact:

Megan Johnson, Cultural Kitchen Coordinator at:

[email protected]
or by phone: 312-583-2221.



The J. Ira & Nicki Harris Family Hostel
24 East
Congress Parkway

Chicago, Illinois 60605

Fax: 1-312-360-0313