Teachers and school administrators can give students an advantage in college applications by encouraging them to study abroad. Having an AFS school year, semester, summer or service program on their application will get attention. The experience demonstrates foreign language skills and a commitment to extracurricular activity, and, perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates independence and reliance. It show a readiness to succeed in a new setting and a ability to understand and communicate about international and intercultural issues.
Jenny and Mike Messner hosted their annual picnic for AFS-USA participants who received full scholarships from the Messners' Speedwell Foundation. In attendance were many of the 30 members of the current Speedwell Scholarship class, along with their families. In addition, more than a dozen alumni of the Speedwell program lent their support and words of advice to those about to start their journeys. Jenny and AFS-USA President Jorge Castro (both AFS Returnees) addressed the attendees, sharing their own study-abroad experiences and offering encouragement to the students about to start their study abroad experience and their families.
Dr. Tony Wagner, co-director of Harvard's Change Leadership Group has identified what he calls a "global achievement gap," which is the leap between what even our best schools are teaching, and the must-have skills of the future: * Critical thinking and problem-solving * Collaboration across networks and leading by influence * Agility and adaptability * Initiative and entrepreneurialism * Effective oral and written communication * Accessing and analyzing information * Curiosity and imagination
"In Italy, as in many other parts of the world, Carnival is a huge, month-long celebration. As it happens, Venice holds one of the most beautiful Carnival celebrations out there. I had been told that our local AFS region would be going to this grand celebration, so when my host mom broke the news that they were planning a rip-off Carnival in a tiny city nearby, I knew that was not going to work for me. I had only one Carnival in Italy, and I was going to do it right."