Understanding cultural differences

Fun with food

Sample an unfamiliar food from another culture, and wear nylons over your arms to simulate “skin” of various colours.

Discussion point: Despite superficial differences, people have much in common.

For a mini-version of a cross-cultural experience, cook or purchase a meal or an appetizer that is culturally different from the food your family is accustomed to. Encourage your children to sample the ethnic food and discuss being open-minded towards different food or people.

As part of the meal, you may also want to have your children put coloured nylon stockings over their arms. Simply cut the feet out of a pair of knee-high stockings. During the meal, point out that a different coloured covering (skin) on a person’s body doesn’t mean they are different from others inside.

For a more in-depth version of this activity, invite someone from another country or different cultural background over to your house, or visit him or her in their home. Prepare questions to ask them ahead of time. Share a special family tradition or custom with them and ask them to do the same.

If you would like to fully immerse you children in a cross-cultural experience without leaving your home, consider billeting foreign students.