YES Programs



Food: A Fun Way to Share Your Culture!

Michella at a table of Lebanese food with several other teenagers

By: Michella Rahi (YES 2022-2023, Lebanon, placed by CIEE in Montpelier, VT)

A great way to be exposed to a new culture is by trying their food. It may be challenging to be open to new flavors, but it is also fun, bonding, and educational. My name is Michella Rahi, and I was hosted in Montpelier, VT. My favorite thing to do is cook and as an exchange student, that was a great way to share my culture with others!

During International Education Week, I made my class Lebanese manoushe (homemade bread topped with zaatar) and traditional hummus. At first, I was nervous that my classmates might find the taste weird and unfamiliar, but their reaction was priceless! They loved the food so much.

Three students filling plates with Lebanese food

After this experience, I wanted to share Lebanese food with my whole school. For Arab-American Heritage Month, I organized a table at my school to share rice pudding, Lebanese coconut cake (nammoura), and lazy cake. During their lunch break, students would stop by to sample the food and I would also write their names on a sticky note in Arabic. I received so many compliments throughout the day about how good the food was, and the school’s chef even came all the way from the kitchen to try it.

I still wanted to share more though! After presenting about Lebanon for my French class, the students were curious to learn more about Lebanon. The following week, we went to the school’s fire oven to prepare traditional Lebanese manousheh. Everyone loved learning to bake it. We also put on Lebanese music, and I taught them to dance dabke, our traditional Lebanese dance. It warmed my heart to see how much my American friends enjoyed learning about my culture. During my exchange year, I learned how fun and educational it is to share your culture through food.