cultural immersion

 the cultural immersion experience series connects you with authentic meals, traditional practices and vibrant storytelling from cultures around the world, hosted in your backyard, by members of your community. 

cultural immersion series

This series aims to make cultural immersion experiences accessible, particularly to those who do not have access to international travel; in an effort to build community, support cultural exposure and facilitate relatability by dissolving migrant and race-based stereotypes. The series brings together people of diverse backgrounds, who would normally not connect, to explore a new culture, grow as a community and experience the enchantment of international flavors, traditions, stories and culture. 

inspiration

I deeply desire to bring communities together; in ways I witnessed and was immersed in around the world. In dusty camps and quiet rooms across Iraq, in herding livestock on mountain sides and celebrating milestones in vibrant lounges across Jordan, on kitchens steps cutting vegetables and preparing meals on hilltop towns in Southern Italy, under shaded trees in parks and on benches in India, on the beaches and around boats in fishing towns of Vietnam, the streets and temples of Indonesia, and scattered in plazas in Colombia. Communing in triumphs and tribulations, encouragement and support, sharing meals and traditions, absorbed in laughter, while passing down wisdom and learning from one another. All these people and places carry a piece of home within me, the richness of these cultural immersions expanding my views on humanity, and the world, shaping the ways in which I connect, and participate in community. These cultural immersive experiences are an opportunity to experience the wonders and enchantment of international travel and culture, here at home, while connecting with your community. 

my story

After nearly a decade of traveling and living abroad, settling back in the US has been an interesting process. As I slowly (re)integrated, I found that while I appreciated the comforts and privileges of being in the US, I was confronted with how lonely and isolating American life can be, particularly after experiencing such rich communal cultures and traditions. I deeply deeply missed the communal connections, personal expansion and enchantment I experienced being immersed in the rich cultures aboard. I craved the little adventures of hearing new languages and sounds, the exhilarating sensation of new flavors and culinary profiles, the relatability in seeing similarities to my own culture and the innovation in the adoption of western influences. Most I missed the people, the communities, the hospitality, the connections, the ways these relationships evolved me as a person. This yearning for culture, diversity, and community took a whole new shape in March 2019.

 

The pandemic brought a standstill to most international travel, which still remains challenging over a year later. While the new public health regulations make international travel more complex, international travel in general whether it be vacations, study aboard, or expat life, has been inaccessible to most Americans.  I recognize my decades worth of traveling and living aboard as an immense privilege. Now, as freedom of movement becomes more complex, divides run deeply at home and internationally, the intersections among us grow more undeniable, we need each other, as a a global community, more than ever before, and the importance of exposure, connection, representation and understanding is immensely important