Cultural exchange opportunities without leaving home
With the world feeling smaller and smaller every day, we can all benefit from opportunities for cultural exchange. Not all of us can afford to jet set around and see different countries first hand, though. However, there are some ways that we can experience some of the cultural exchange that traveling can bring without the money and inconvenience of travelling!
- Volunteer with refugees and recent immigrants. Many areas have organizations that serve new immigrants and refugees. These organizations are often looking for volunteers to help newly arrived families settle in and help them adjust to America and American culture. This is also a great way for the whole family to volunteer together and everyone can experience some of the fun of this cultural exchange opportunity.
- Language Clubs – Language clubs and other opportunities for language exchange are a fun way to meet and talk with people from other countries. It can also help you to learn a new language or practice another language you already know but don’t get to practice often. Even if you don’t know another language there are also usually opportunities for native English speakers to have casual conversations with people trying to learn English. Talking to someone about his or her home country and the differences and similarities to the Unites States can help you to learn a lot about cultural differences and take the most advantage of this cultural exchange opportunity.
- Au Pairs – One of the best opportunities for cultural exchange is by hosting an au pair. An au pair is a childcare professional who comes to the United States from another country and provides childcare to his or her host family. The host family houses the au pair in and treats them like a member of the family. There is no better opportunity for cultural exchange then having someone from another culture come and live with your family. It is also a win/win situation because both parties get the cultural exchange benefits and the host family gets affordable in home childcare. However, it is important that you go through an au pair agency that has been recognizes for its quality and will make sure that both the au pair and the host family are happy with the match. The Au Pair Foundation is an award-winning agency that will make sure that everyone has a wonderful experience.
- High School Exchange Students – Hosting a foreign exchange student as a volunteer host family is a fun way to learn about another culture, share your own traditions and lifestyle, and have an amazing semester or two with someone who is likely to become a beloved family member for life. The memories you make, the adventure you provide, and the experiences you all have together are incomparable. To learn more, check out STS Foundation’s
Cultural exchange opportunities are all around us even if you can’t leave your own town. It can be a rewarding and enriching experience to take advantage of these opportunities and to help others as they adjust to the United States.