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  • A Host Sister Reflects on Her Volunteer Experience

    Growing up, we’re taught to think of our own families, communities, and traditions as “normal” and everyone else’s as “different.” Volunteering at WorldChicago has helped change my views on that. As a volunteer and host family, I was able to interact with teenagers my age who’ve come from afar, while
  • Reunion Abroad: A Homestay Host Visits Iraq

    I always appreciated the way being a WorldChicago host offered endless opportunities to bring the world into my home, but it was even more exciting to have doors opened to me that I never would have imagined in Erbil, Iraq. I hosted Ali and spent time with Aamr in summer

Growing up, we’re taught to think of our own families, communities, and traditions as “normal” and everyone else’s as “different.” Volunteering at WorldChicago has helped change my views on that. As a volunteer and host family, I was able to interact with teenagers my age who’ve come from afar, while also having the opportunity to ask them about their ways of life: what they eat, how they enjoy school, what their parents do for a living. All followed by my favorite question, “What is the weirdest thing you have seen an American do?” I like this question because it flips the script, normalizing their world and making mine the weird one. It’s all relative — it’s good to see how your view isn’t the only “normal” one. WorldChicago gave me the opportunity of experiencing a culture exchange on a deeper level. During the summer, my family and I hosted a young girl ...

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