I teach Spanish in the third largest district in the nation. My students are primarily African-American, from the south side, and in Spanish 4. Most started Spanish in 7th or 9th grade and enjoy it enough to continue past their 2-year requirement. They are academically advanced and many aspire to graduate from a 4-year college and beyond, for some being the first in their families to do so. Many plan to take Spanish in college as well.
These students are motivated, funny, and take advantage of any opportunity they are given.
As their teacher, I want Spanish to come alive for them, and for them to see how big the world is and to experience it first-hand through their city. I found this opportunity (Cultural Kitchen) at Hosteling International years ago and have been taking students for 5 years now. My students want to travel and this trip opens the doors to how many college students budget travel while letting students meet travelers from all over the world and practice their Spanish with travelers.
My students in Spanish 4 will choose a focus country and research a cultural aspect of this country in Spanish. In class, they will present (in Spanish) about this cultural aspect. On the field trip, they will represent their school and city when they go to Hosteling International, cook an authentic meal from the focus country, and present their research to travelers from all over the world who are visiting Chicago for the first time.
Students in the past have reported how amazing this experience was, to use their Spanish and expand their horizons.
This trip allows students to better their Spanish communication skills, explore a country in the Spanish-speaking world, share that knowledge with their classmates and travelers, explore hosteling, a common form of accommodation in budget traveling, meet people from all over the world, bond with their classmates and teachers, and expand their horizons. This trip will improve their learning by giving them real-life motivation for learning Spanish and improve their school lives by recounting their experiences at Hosteling International to their school classmates.
In the 5 years, I've done this field trip, I've only had positive experiences and only heard positive comments from students. They love learning by being hands-on with cooking authentic food and presenting as well as interacting with travelers and learning firsthand about the world from travelers as well as representing the US, Chicago, and their school by being ambassadors as they interact with the travelers.
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