HI USA is non-profit organization with a mission to help all, especially the young, gain a greater understanding of the world and its people through hostelling. So it's perhaps no surprise that our largest hostel, HI New York City, is all about putting this mission into practice. But HI NYC's focus on our non-profit mission goes way beyond the hostellers it welcomes through its doors every day: in addition to educational and cultural programs for guests, the hostel hosts frequent programming for community members.
Here, New Yorkers of all ages gather to learn about practical travel tips, multi-cultural cuisines, and lots more. No matter which program you choose to participate in, you'll find these classes and workshops to be engaging learning experiences that will help you develop intercultural dialogue and critical thought around travel, food, culture, and the impact we, as individuals, have on the global community.
The hostel regularly hosts two kinds of cooking programs: Cooking as a Second Language (CASL) and International Ingredients. Both programs aim to introduce participants to new cultures using food as an entry point. CASL and International Ingredients evenings are always led by chefs who are intimately familiar with the cuisine and culture they're sharing with participants through food.
CASL focuses on one volunteer chef and the preparation and cooking of an entrée, appetizer, dessert, and/or drink from the chef’s culture. International Ingredients focuses on one main ingredient -- curry, tofu, rice, or salted fish, for example -- that is used in multiple cuisines, countries, and cultures. Participants work with two or more chefs to prepare dishes from different parts of the world, then discuss how ingredients originating from one country found their way to others whether through migration, slavery, colonialism, or nation building, and ultimately the exchange of cultures.
Educational Travel Programs
HI New York City's travel education programs cover a wide range of topics, but each installment usually focuses on a particular identity, location, or interest. Popular themes include Backpacking through Europe 101, Women Traveling Solo, Traveling While Queer, Black African Americans Traveling Africa, Traveling South Korea 101, or Sustainable Travel. Educational programs are led by volunteers who are passionate and well informed about their travel topic, and there's always a panel discussion at the end so participants can ask questions.
Study Abroad 101
Study Abroad 101 works to prepare future students, gap-year travelers, and current students who are interested in studying abroad or have already been accepted into a study abroad program. In this workshop, led by former students who have completed study abroad programs all over the world, participants discuss the academic, social, and career benefits of taking part in a study abroad program as well as challenges they might face. A typical Study Abroad 101 workshop might cover what academic classes abroad are like, how students' own social identities might impact their experiences, must-see attractions in specific regions, and general helpful travel information that will help students navigate a new community abroad.
No matter which program participants choose to join, they'll feel welcomed immediately into the hostel space, where they can learn more about the hostelling lifestyle and interact with international travelers.
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Edible Education: Cooking as a Second Language
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