Finding international resources in your community

Enrich your life by finding cultural assets in your local area.

Are your kids too young to travel on an exchange? Even though you would love to have your children travel, you may not have the financial capacity to give them this kind of world-traveling experience, but you still want your children to understand the communality between peoples of the world and the variation between cultures of the world. There is no need to be concerned. You can find the world multicultural tapestry right at home in your community. It may be there in the people you already know.

Ask your friends what ethnic background they are from. Find out if they do anything special from that background, such as cook or bake a certain food at holidays. Do they know words from the language of their ethnic background? Are there certain songs they sing or dances they know? Is there a craft or art form they can share?

That is just a start. There may be people at work or teachers at school, such as the language teacher, who could share with you and your children what they know about the language they teach and the country it represents.

Check your area for cultural societies, like the Ukrainian Center in the Detroit area, the Arab Cultural Center in Dearborn or the African Museum in Detroit. There are comparable organizations all over and in every city or near every town.

Find and go to ethnic restaurants and experiment with different kinds of food. This is also a great way to meet people of different cultures.

Watch foreign movies. It may not be your first thought when renting a movie, but there are many foreign movies that are made for children. You can find many of these online as well as music and language tapes and downloads.

Many people love to talk about and share their roots with people and would be willing to come to a 4-H club meeting or a Boy or Girl Scout troop meeting; your children’s teachers may bring them into their classroom if given the opportunity and with your help.

With a little detective work, you can in enrich your children’s lives without the cost of airplanes or hotels, and all from the security of your own neighborhood.

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