HI Chicago, The J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Hostel

in the beautiful state of Illinois

Programs at HI Chicago Hostel

Daily Activities & Events

When you stay at HI Chicago Hostel, The J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Hostel, you get more than just a bed for the night. You get to become part of our vibrant community of travelers, see the city beyond the recommendations of the guidebooks and meet interesting people from around the world. Sure, we’ll tell you how to save a few bucks when you go up to the top of the John Hancock Tower for the best views of the city, but we’ll also share our favorite deep dish pizza joints and give you a taste of the blues like you’ve never had before. Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, our tours and events are a great way to meet other travelers and share with them all the unique experiences that Chicago has to offer.

For a detailed schedule, visit our Calendar page.

Educational Programs

In addition to serving thousands of travelers from across America and around the world who stay at our hostel each year, HI Chicago is also committed to investing in our local schools and communities. Since the opening of our doors in 2000, HI Chicago has partnered with countless school and community groups to offer a variety of educational programs focused on increasing cultural understanding and appreciation. Our experiential education programs are aimed at developing participants’ intercultural communication skills, as well as fostering a passion for travel, to serve our mission of creating a more tolerant world.

Cultural Kitchen

Cultural Kitchen is a standards-based, experiential learning program that helps students articulate their own cultural identities while gaining a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, diverse global cultures. Participants complete several research assignments about another country’s cultural norms and then demonstrate what they learned by preparing a meal and presenting their research on the country’s culture and cultural identity to guests at HI Chicago.

The program:

  • Aligns with Common Core Standards
  • Aligns with AACU VALUE Rubrics
  • Achieves measurable outcomes in the areas of intercultural knowledge, civic engagement and global learning
  • Encourages intercultural communication and tolerance

Program includes:

  • One classroom visit from HI USA staff
  • Five 50-minute lesson plans
  • Facilitated in-hostel program where students prepare a meal of the country they researched and present their research to hostel guests from around the world
  • Overnight accommodations for all participants and instructors

Who is eligible?

  • Community-serving non-profits that work with Chicago youth aged 15 and over
  • Groups/organizations that support high schools students with a family income at or below the poverty line are encouraged to apply
  • Individual high school classes

Info:
For more information, email Anna Lucas Marin, Education Coordinator, at anna.marin@hiusa.org or call 312-425-4317.

Community Expressions

Community Expressions is a standards-based, experiential learning program that gives students the opportunity to gain a greater understanding of their community and cultural identity and consider how to make a positive impact in their neighborhood and the world at large. Participants create an original painting, dance, recitation or other artistic interpretation of their neighborhood and then prepare a meal and present their work to guests at HI Chicago.

The program:

  • Aligns with Common Core Standards
  • Aligns with AACU VALUE Rubrics
  • Achieves measurable outcomes in the areas of intercultural communication and personal responsibility as part of a global community

Program Includes:

  • One classroom visit from HI USA staff
  • Five 50-minute lesson plans
  • Facilitated in-hostel program where students prepare a meal and present their work to hostel guests from around the world
  • Overnight accommodations for all participants and instructors

Who is eligible?

  • Community-serving non-profits that work with Chicago youth aged 15 and over
  • Groups/organizations that support high schools students with a family income at or below the poverty line are encouraged to apply.
  • Individual high school classes

Info:
For more information, email Anna Lucas Marin, Education Coordinator, at anna.marin@hiusa.org or call 312-425-4317.

Exchange Neighborhoods

Exchange Neighborhoods brings together students from different high schools to form relationships founded on mutual interests and a shared desire to work against mistrust, misperceptions, and ignorance. To combat the cultural isolation of high schools and neighborhoods in Chicago, Exchange Neighborhoods participants visit each others’ schools to learn about each others’ cultures, schools, and neighborhoods. At the hostel, students cook and eat together, engage in team-building exercises, and share dorm-style rooms for an overnight. Throughout the program, students learn to appreciate their similarities and honor their differences. By completing the Exchange Neighborhoods program, students:

  • Gain a greater understanding of Chicago’s rich cultural diversity.
  • Respect different people and cultures as they travel through their own communities, their lives, and our world.
  • Appreciate learning opportunities that extend beyond the core curriculum in their schools.
  • Strengthen their ability to communicate with others.
  • Build pride around their own culture, school, and neighborhood.
  • Experience the world of hostelling and travel while meeting people from around the world.
  • Earn service-learning hours needed for graduation.
  • Are prepared to interact with, and therefore succeed within, the many cultures they will encounter throughout their lives.

Info:
For more information, email Anna Lucas Marin, Education Coordinator, at anna.marin@hiusa.org or call 312-425-4317.

Travel Scholarships

We recently launched our new Explore the World and Explore America Travel Scholarship Programs which are open to residents of the Chicago Metropolitan area age 18-30. Visit hiusa.org/scholarships for details.

Address & Contact

HI Chicago, The J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Hostel
24 East Congress Parkway
Chicago Illinois 60605
Phone 1 (312) 360-0300
Fax 1 (312) 360-0313
GPS 41.875717, -87.626726

Bus & Train tickets to Chicago, IL (The J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family)

More Information

Bed Capacity > Total Beds 500

Opening Times > 24 hours > All Year

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