Virtual Cultural Exchange Opportunities


What compels us to leave our comfort zones and set off to see the world? The allure of new faces and experiences, and a core curiosity about the world’s many cultures which only travel can satiate. Of course, no time in living memory has been more difficult to see new faces. Similarly, it’s hard to uncover new experiences when you’ve been staring at the dull inside of your apartment for two months.

But that doesn’t mean new cultural experiences are beyond reach. We’re here to help by curating a series of digital experiences that will immerse you in American culture. Below you’ll find options for diving into popular culture, museums, and cooking.

  • For American music lovers, check our curated regional U.S. playlists.
  • If you’re working on English, pick up a few new U.S. slang expressions.
  • If you’re missing your time as a J-1 Exchange Visitor, listen to exchange participants and their stories on 22.33 podcast.

Streaming Options

In this digital age, you also have unique opportunities to consume pop culture via online streaming! Here are a few options:

Museums

While most organizations have had to alter the way they interact with the public to accommodate for social distancing, museums have done so in particularly novel ways.

New York’s Guggenheim museum offers a collection online, allowing you to browse over 1,700 of the museum’s most diverse pieces. Similarly, Ohio’s Taft Museum of Art offers virtual events! You can also check out past, precorded Fundays on YouTube.

A woman stands above a painting on the ground
You’re never too old to create a masterpiece!
Image courtesy of Pexels

Here are some other digital museum collections to explore:

Food

When you think back on your travels, food evokes strong memories; food is a great way to experience culture. However, when stuck indoors, you’re limited to whatever you’re able to cook up at home. Luckily, we’re here to whet your appetite!

Let’s start with some easy options. Social media usage has, predictably, skyrocketed during social distancing. Given that you’re going to be whittling away the hours on social media anyway, why not incorporate a bit of skill development?

Young person snapping a picture of food for social media
Plus, you can put your creations on your own Instagram!
Image courtesy of Pexels

You may be looking for something with a little more depth than Instagram Stories:

  • A great place to start appreciating American food is with the country’s first peoples. Native American cuisine expert Lois Ellen Frank released a free webinar introduction to the topic, followed by a cooking demonstration.
  • Barbeque is another American culinary tradition: barbeque. Over the course of eleven free episodes of BBQ With Franklin, host and self-proclaimed “BBQ nerd” Aaron Franklin will impart technical knowledge and cultural context regarding all things barbeque.
  • Finally, Baltimore Chef Shop, a “teaching kitchen,” has adapted to the stay-at-home lifestyle with a wide array of online interactive cooking classes.

As global travelers we consider ourselves to be culturally sensitive and adventurous. These traits are not easily adaptable to isolation. While you may not be able to easily board a plane, you can still travel the world. Like any guide, we’ve only provided a map to your journey - it’s up to you to take the first step.

U.S. Department of State-Designated J-1 Visa Sponsor
Alliance for International Exchange
Exclusive partner of the Erasmus Student Network for J-1 Visa sponsorship of internships in the U.S.
European-American Chamber of Commerce New York
Generation Study Abroad
Global Ties U.S.
International Au Pair Association
WYSE Travel Confederation