Given the economic rate of return on experiential learning through study abroad, AFS helps students gain critical 21st century skills that are highly coveted by the majority of colleges and employers. Examples of these global competencies are: civic and social action through community service, language skills, cross-cultural communication skills, cultural awareness, independence, leadership, maturity and flexibility. This blog post provides further reading on the indispensable link between intercultural learning, global competency and the workplace.
"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."
"However, despite how amazing Lititz is, I am in no hurry to come home. In fact, I will be gone for another eight months. I am spending this year "living it up" as an exchange student in the most beautiful country in Europe. That would be Italy. For this, I might be one of the luckiest young ladies in the world. I owe a huge thank-you to the Speedwell Foundation, who provided full-scholarships for three Warwick High School students, including myself, to become ambassadors for the U.S. through American Field Service (AFS)."
"My name is Emily Daniels. I am 16 years old, and, up until this September, I've lived in Lititz and attended Warwick School District. But now I am spending my junior year in the small village of Loxstedt, Germany. That means 10 months of talking, eating and living like a German. The title of my column, Marmeladenglasmomente, is the German word for moments that are so amazing you want to keep them in a jar forever. So far, my year has proven to be full of these."
Essay relating the moments of an AFS study abroad year, each starting with a question: "Will you remember?"
Students who develop social-emotional intelligence will not only perform better on standardized tests and live healthier lives, they will also understand themselves and others more fully. Developing cross-cultural empathy through studying abroad with AFS therefore, has many positive effects on mind, body, and soul!
Learning a second language will most definitely contribute to the flexibility and resourcefulness of a young person’s brain. Therefore, not only will an AFS student gain the ability to communicate more efficiently in a 21st century intercultural world, but they will also benefit from a significant boost in brain power.