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Intercultural Scavenger Hunt

Tool Objectives: 
  1. To jumpstart the cultural integration process by building confidence in navigating the local community. 
  2. To develop intercultural communication skills and recognize personal barriers to rewarding intercultural encounters.
  3. To foster among your cohorts an atmosphere of mutual respect and encouragement toward intercultural learning and engagement.
Tool Description: 

The scavenger hunt is an experiential learning opportunity that is ideally facilitated as part of an arrival orientation. Working in small groups, students must engage the local community in an attempt to learn about the host culture and its social organization. Students are assigned five tasks, which they must complete in a high-paced, competitive environment. In doing so, students must use the local language (as needed) and rely on shared knowledge of the local community and expanded approaches to information gathering. Group experiences are subsequently shared in a “Show-n-Tell” presentation format.

Tool Procedures: 
  1. Form groups of 3-5 students, depending on class size. Explain the rules of the scavenger hunt and the geographic parameters for the local site.  Each group should draw at random a scavenger hunt focus area (see Appendix 4). Brainstorm culturally appropriate ways to gather assigned information. If students will be using local transportation, it may be necessary to review emergency protocols. 
  2. Allow students approximately 3 hours to complete the tasks. Information must be gathered from primary sources, such as through interviews, observations, documents (i.e., newspapers, flyers, etc).  Internet use should be discouraged.  Establish a time and location for all groups to rendezvous.
  3. Allow groups approximately 45-60 minutes to prepare a show-n-tell presentation, and up to 10-15 minutes for each group presentation.  The presentations should include an initial response to each of the five tasks as assigned followed by a brief presentation of something that the group found interesting, puzzling, confusing, or an otherwise significant occurrence during the scavenger hunt. The presentations can be delivered in the form of a narrative, a skit, a slideshow, etc. Allow time for discussion of each presentation.
  4. After the presentations, facilitate a discussion of the scavenger hunt, giving particular attention to when students relied on preexisting ideas about the local community rather than on what they learned during the scavenger hunt. Discuss what students learned and how this knowledge can better inform their experiences in the local community. Discuss potential barriers to intercultural learning (i.e., time, language, gender role expectations, etc.).
Tool Evaluation: 

Grading is unnecessary. It may work best as a group-oriented, competitive activity facilitated as part of an arrival orientation. Each of the five tasks could be allotted up to two points with two bonus points for outstanding show-n-tell presentations, for a maximum total of 12pts. The group with the highest number of points wins. If appropriate, a prize or special privileges could be awarded to the winning group. For more fun, award an honorable mention prize for a particularly creative approach taken during the scavenger hunt.

Tool Time Requirement: 

Half-day minimum, but preferably three hours for the scavenger hunt and 1-2 hours for presentations, discussion and awards (in-country)

Tool Author(s): 

Adapted by L. Usher and A. Ogden, 2009 from Peace Corps training materials.

Tool Handouts [.doc or .docx]: 

Site copyright 2012, University of Kentucky, Education Abroad.
Toolkit Authors: Duarte Morais, Ph.D., Anthony C. Ogden, Ph.D., & Christine Buzinde, Ph.D.
More information about the toolkit authors.

Danland theme modification by Vaughan A. Fielder.