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Refugee Hotel Curriculum

The lesson plans and discussion questions for Refugee Hotel explore the cultural, political, and emotional realities of being forced from one’s home or country of origin. These lessons incorporate photography, visual art, and critical thinking, as they examine the assumptions that come with the label “refugee.” Students will explore the following questions:

  • What does ‘home’ mean to me? What does ‘home’ mean to displaced people?
  • How do we label others? What assumptions do we bring with us when interacting with new people—especially those who are different from us?

Grades: High school

Time Needed: Entire curriculum covers around 2 weeks of class time. However, each lesson can be taught separately.


  • Students will create personal and political definitions of home, family, and resettlement through analysis and creative response
  • Students will develop self-awareness and critical thinking skills by exploring assumptions and the power of labels
  • Students will foster empathy and identification with the refugee experience by engaging a framework based on personal, emotional experience

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The stories are raw and the images are complex… a kaleidoscope of voices and imagery that celebrates the individuality of each new American.

Julie Turkewitz 
for The Atlantic 

About the Oral Histories

Refugee Hotel is a groundbreaking collection of photography and interviews that documents the arrival of refugees in the United States. Powerful images are coupled with moving testimonies from people describing their first days in the U.S., the lives they’ve left behind, and the new communities they’ve since created.

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