Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

It’s Not Just Israel — These 6 Other Countries Offer Birthright Trips, Too

Birthright isn’t just for Jews anymore.

Following the same model, a number of cultural organizations and governments have created programs to connect diasporic communities in North America with their ancestral cultures.

1) Heritage Greece

Founded by the National Hellenic Society, Heritage Greece offers Greek-American undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 26 a two-week immersive summer trip. The trip is specifically geared toward second-, third-, or fourth-generation Americans with little to no connection with their Greek heritage. The goal is to introduce them to their culture and ignite their interest and pride. Participants tour important cultural sites, spend time with a Greek family, and take classes in Greek language, cooking and culture. In-country costs are covered for participating students.

2) ReConnect Hungary

Hungarian-Americans and Canadians between the ages 18 and 26 are offered a 2-week trip designed to expose them to Hungarian culture. They get to meet with Hungarian businesspeople, politicians and other leaders. The trip extends outside the current Hungarian borders, to Hungarian communities that were once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and are now parts of other countries. Participants visit the specific villages their families came from. The trip isn’t free, but the price tag overs travel, food, boarding and activities.

3) Birthright Macedonia

Anyone over the age of 18 with Macedonian heritage can participate in Birthright Macedonia, which takes place over three weeks in the summer. The program includes an internship program that is meant to compliment personal, academic and/or career goals while introducing the intern to Macedonian culture, as well as a Macedonian family-stay, visits to sites around Macedonia, and lessons in Macedonian language and culture. The program is specifically geared toward developing contacts and friendships between native Macedonians and members of the Macedonian diaspora.

4) Birthright Armenia

Image by birthright israel

Geared toward participants aged 20-32, Birthright Armenia is a longer-term program, with a minimum commitment of four weeks of volunteering. The program covers travel expenses and gives a monthly stipend to participants who stay for over 18 weeks. Volunteers are matched with a host family, and participate in language and culture immersion while volunteering. Over 800 Diasporic Armenians have participated so far.

5) TuCuba

Cuban Diaspora organization CubaOne offers a free trip for Cuban-Americans between the ages of 22 and 35 who are looking to connect with their Cuban heritage, and specifically to build meaningful relationships with Cuban people. Trips vary in focus and include focused programs in politics/policy, art and literature, local and national culture, history, ecology and industry. All programs include person-to-person connections with other young Cubans in the participant’s field and/or area of interest.

6) Global Irish Summer Camp

The Ireland-based group Diaspora Matters, which focuses on connecting people in the Irish Diaspora with their heritage, teamed up with the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to create the Global Irish Summer Camp, which is designed for American teenagers of Irish descent between the ages of 15 and 17. The program covers all in-country costs, and includes classes and workshops on Irish history, language and culture, as well as relevant field trips to important sites across Ireland.

Here’s wondering if the hook up scene crosses cultural lines…

Lana Adler is a Forward Fellow working in opinion. Follow her on Twitter @Lana_Macondo

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.