From the AFS-USA President & CEO, Tara Boyce-Hofmann
International Education Week (IEW) provides a valuable opportunity for us to celebrate the power of citizen and cultural exchange as a pathway to fostering global understanding and unity.
In a world where intercultural learning has become not just a valuable asset but an urgent necessity, your dedication to global education (and, in turn, the mission of AFS-USA) is both commendable and inspiring. As we prepare for IEW, in addition to using the tools, opportunities, and resources shared in this newsletter, I encourage you to explore the joint statement from the US Department of State and the US Department of Education to gain deeper insights into the significance of this week.
Meanwhile, let’s continue to be torchbearers of international education, promoting the lifelong benefits of cultural exchange and building bridges of understanding. Thank you for your remarkable contributions.
Preparing for International Education Week
International Education Week (IEW), November 13-17, 2023, is the perfect opportunity to bring your students an awareness of the world and its people. Keep reading for a few ways that you and your students can get involved in IEW ’23.
Invite the AFS students in your building to give a presentation. Our AFS students have been prepared to share about their country and culture with their classrooms so we hope you will take advantage of their knowledge and perspective and have them share about their experience and home culture with their peers. Don’t have an AFSer in your building this semester? Email us at [email protected] and we’ll see what we can do to connect you with a student, alum, or volunteer who can connect with your students this November.
Want to travel to Austria?We’re starting the search for the school for our 2024 Austria/USA teacher exchange location. We’ve been in Wisconsin, Iowa, Pennsylvania… where should we go next? Your school will host teachers for ~10 days and you and your colleagues will travel to Austria for ~10 days in 2024! Stay tuned in our next edition in January for pictures from the 2023 exchange!
It’s not too late to participate in a virtual exchange!Connect with a classroom in Mexico or Colombia to explore global competence together with your students in English, Spanish, or a combination. All high school subject areas are welcome to join us. Teacher training will be provided in January and the exchanges will begin in February and March.
The AFS Exchange podcast includes an episode to remind us all why we celebrate IEW with our students and that what you, as educators, do matters in the lives of students. Take a listen while you make your IEW plans and be inspired by these students and educators!
IEW is a great time to plan your 2024 global adventure. Our friends at GEEO can help you become a global citizen when you participate in a professional development travel experience. Whether you go for 5 days or 23 to any of 70+ destinations, you’ll be provided support, educational materials, PD credit, and all that you need to share your travels with students upon returning home. And you’ll build your teacher network at the same time!
Pictured above Nicole Elkon, U.S. Department of State (left) and Lindsey Smaka, 2023 AFS-USA Global Educator of the Year (right)
Nominate yourself, a colleague, or your school for a global award! Who doesn’t want to be recognized for doing good work? Everyone is busy so if you’re willing to take the time to write a letter of nomination for a colleague or for your school, you’re recognizing the hard work that it takes to truly cultivate a global classroom or school. We welcome self-nominations too! Learn more and see past winners here!
Opportunities for Students
International Education Week is also a great time for students to seek out global experiences for themselves. Check out these scholarships and opportunities still available for them!
Nominate up to 3 students for a chance to spend 4 weeks in France next summer learning French and all about the Francophone culture. All levels of French are welcome as students are placed in daily language classes according to language level. They’ll also explore the beauty of Nice, France and participate in a number of activities as they make new friends from around the globe. The deadline for nominations is November 19, 2023.
The Kennedy Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program provides scholarships for eligible American high school students and recent graduates to live with host families and attend a local high school for an academic year in countries like Egypt, Ghana, India, Senegal, Thailand, Turkey and more. YES Abroad students promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and the host country by building relationships with the local community. Applications for this U.S. Department of State program are due December 4, 2023.
Applications for the 2024 AFS Global STEM Academies scholarship open on November 15, 2023! The AFS Global STEM Academies is a full-scholarship, STEM and sustainability-focused study abroad program for young, active global citizens who are energized by solving some of today’s biggest global challenges. Participating scholars will develop the skills needed to work in and advance a low-carbon energy system, while increasing their global awareness, interest in and understanding of the need for a sustainable and equitable energy future. Visit the website to learn about the program and how to apply! The deadline to apply is January 15, 2024.
AFS-USA is proud to have educators on staff who are working to bring you resources to recognize your tremendous work, provide opportunities for you and your students to go abroad, and to support you with activities and resources that build bridges among students. This year during International Education Week, try something new with your students. We recommend the Nonverbal Communication activity to help your students see what they’re saying when they don’t say anything at all. It’s a great way to laugh and learn at the same time!