AFS Perspectives: Helping…
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7 Mar 2017
Volunteer projects make an impact on diversity and inclusion
Volunteers are key for AFS: they support our study abroad and hosting programs, and deliver educational activities to make a positive impact in their communities. Boosting volunteer engagement and keeping them involved in the organization is one of the core topics on the everyday agenda of AFS offices across globe, just like in many other not-for-profit volunteer driven organizations. (Read more in the The importance...
10 Feb 2017
Spreading our intercultural competences beyond AFS
A year ago, I was approached by an AFS Czech Republic volunteer whom I had just trained in What Every AFSer Should Know about Intercultural Learning - a training offered to AFS volunteers and staff around the world, that gives them a shared basic knowledge and competences within intercultural learning. This volunteer found the training extremely interesting and wondered if we could do a similar one in the company for...
1 Feb 2017
Multiple benefits of intercultural learning tools
Research has shown that intercultural learning provides multiple benefits, which are structured in the educational goals that guide the AFS programs for high-school students: intercultural learning helps young people develop competences on a personal, interpersonal, cultural and global levels. How far reaching are these benefits of intercultural learning? Those of us who have participated in an exchange program with...
24 Jan 2017
Understanding is key to learning to live together
The city that never sleeps , New York is famous as one of the world’s best known melting pots of culture. Between May and October last year there was an art exhibition installed at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park, which is neither right in the city center nor a famous art gallery site. It took me awhile to get to this open public space, but this journey was also metaphorically perfectly suited for this exhibition...
9 Jan 2017
Intercultural teacher: the importance of knowing yourself to bridge differences
Have you ever wondered about the cultural diversity in schools and how to integrate in it effectively? Such questions arise when we work on developing intercultural competences (also known as global competences) in teachers and the educational community as a whole. In many countries it is not common to consider that these competences are essential for teachers, since the educational system has other needs that require...
21 Dec 2016
Education for Prosperity and Peace in Indonesia
The world today faces tremendous challenges related to cultural and religious tensions, social injustice, political and economic crises as well as sustainable development issues. In Indonesia, we have also witnessed shortfalls in leadership, corruption and increasing conflicts and tensions in many areas. To deal with the challenges and complexities of today’s world, we need to critically look at our education...
9 Nov 2016
What parenting has taught me about intercultural learning
Globalization of migration flows, shifting ideas about ethnicity and race, and intimate relations across ethnic boundaries mean that more and more of us parent children with individuals from an ethnic background different to ours, or in a society different to the one that we were raised in. In some cases, we are doing both. What does it mean to parent children from such diverse backgrounds? How can culture and intercultural...
4 Nov 2016
“Every encounter is an intercultural experience”: Linking Social Justice and Intercultural Communication
When I attended the Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication (SIIC) I was excited to meet likeminded people from all over the world and to gain perspective on the sheer necessity of intercultural learning (ICL) in every area of life. Although I learnt a lot in this course I still feel like a beginner in so many ways (but conscious incompetence is a step up from unconscious incompetence, right?). I suppose the...
20 Oct 2016
Intercultural Learning in the Council of Europe
In the never ending quest to grasp the full spectrum of intercultural learning I recently found myself reading The Council of Europe’s Compendium of Intercultural Learning from 2012. The Compendium provides a comprehensive overview of how intercultural learning (ICL) is seen as a reference point in the youth work of the Council of Europe. The Council of Europe (CoE) is an international organization that focuses...
18 Oct 2016
Embarking on the Student Learning Journey in Brazil
AFS Brazil office received the news about the new AFS Student Learning Journey Curriculum with a lot of excitement, but also with a lot of concern. The AFS Student Learning Journey Curriculum outlines how AFS can deliver more meaningful learning experiences to students before, during and after participating in an AFS program and it also strengthens AFS's credibility as an educational organization. AFS Brazil already...
27 Sep 2016
Volunteers on a Student Learning Journey
Earlier this year, AFS world-wide network was introduced to the new AFS Student Learning Journey Curriculum . The document provides a clear and coherent structure that includes all the major non-formal learning touchpoints for exchange students from the moment they learn about AFS programs, through their experience abroad, until they return home and are invited to become AFS volunteers. Inviting our program alumni...
21 Sep 2016
Benefits of an Intercultural Classroom
“ Education gives us the chance to understand that we are all tied together as citizens of the global community, and that our challenges are interconnected ”. Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General Every day, international, national and even local news confront us with a world where intolerance, preconceptions, ignorance and fear of differences are the common denominator. This is not only seen through violent...
16 Sep 2016
Five Essential Questions to Ask Yourself
In AFS, we often use the term “ the unfinished product ” to describe participants of our programs. This reminds us that they are growing, changing and learning while they are with us. I like to think that we are all unfinished products with many areas left to grow, many ideas that we can change, and many things to still to learn. Every interaction we have adds to our knowledge and experience. What we do with...
26 Aug 2016
Understanding yourself better with intercultural learning
Intercultural Learning (ICL) helps us understand similarities and differences between cultures, and why people sometimes behave differently from us. At AFS, we believe that this understanding helps us build better intercultural friendships, thus resisting conflicts and taking us a step closer towards world peace. However, is intercultural learning only about moving towards the noble cause of world peace? Definitely not...
18 Aug 2016
Experience the world though a portable exhibition
AFS exchange students and host families experience other cultures and the world in a way which is inaccessible for tourists. Their intercultural encounters are so inspiring that AFS Czech Republic decided to share them with the wider audiences. We put together a portable exhibition of authentic photos and stories of AFS Czech Republic alumni who spent their intercultural experiences around the world - from Costa Rica...