Conversations with AFS-USA's Global Awards Winners

In honor of International Education week, The AFS Exchange brings you conversations with the awardees of AFS-USA’s 2022 Global Awards! These awardees were recognized earlier this year for their commitment to helping the next generation achieve global and intercultural competence. 

We hear from Global Educator Award winner Josh Amstuz from Cincinnati, Ohio about how he became interested in international education after a trip to Madrid with his father. We learn more about project-based learning and his role at the Academy of Global Studies at Winton Woods High School.

The winner of the Global School Award was Oconomowoc High School in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. Carrie Schultz, Danielle Chaussée, and Jason Curtis share about the value of highlighting global competence in their school. They also discuss the benefits of welcoming multiple AFS students each year, giving their students the ability to learn about other cultures without traveling themselves. The impact AFSers can have on a school community is really far-reaching- no airplane required! That’s the #AFSeffect!

Guests: Josh Amstutz, Carrie Schultz, Danielle Chaussée, Jason Curtis

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Study Abroad with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/study-abroad

Volunteer with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/volunteer

Host with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/host

Contact us: [email protected]

Celebrating 75 Years of Exchange: Jim Kiernan

Jim Kiernan’s AFS experience in Germany in 1961 was an eye-opener. He had never left the northeast United States, but after just a summer in Germany he returned home with a strong desire to learn more about the world and, in his words, “live more.” 

In this episode, we hear about Jim’s AFS experience, his Fulbright program in Brazil, and his extensive professional career with the international law firm Debevoise & Plimpton. After a few years in New York, Jim moved to France to help build up the firm’s European practice. Jim is now retired and splits his time between London and Washington DC.

Jim’s path is a clear example of how AFS can influence your professional and personal life. In AFS’s 75 year history, there are so many participants whose lives have been guided by their experiences with AFS. 

In honor of AFS’s 75th anniversary, The AFS Exchange is releasing 4 episodes this month! That’s 4 times the stories of the impact AFS has had over the years. 

Guest: Jim Kiernan 

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Study Abroad with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/study-abroad

Volunteer with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/volunteer

Host with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/host

Contact us: [email protected]

Celebrating 75 Years of Exchange: Dana Rutson & Family

This episode focused on the impact of AFS on one family in particular – Dana, Camille, Ricardo, and Yasemin. Dana’s mother, Camille, hosted Ricardo from Brazil in 1974. A few years later, Dana went to Turkey with AFS-USA. Yasemin was her host sister, and despite having no common language at the time, they two quickly became friends and found other ways to communicate. We all got together to hear about the role AFS has played in their lives and the relationships they still share. In AFS’s 75-year history, the impact that AFS has had on the lives of its participants is immeasurable. That’s the #AFSeffect.

Guests: Dana Rutson, Camille Linen, Ricardo Ferriera, Yasemin Modler

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Study Abroad: afsusa.org/study-abroad

Volunteer: afsusa.org/volunteer

Host: afsusa.org/host

Contact us: [email protected]

Celebrating 75 Years of Exchange: Dave Schrader

After Dave Schrader’s summer in Austria with AFS, he returned back to the US eager to help future exchange students through their programs. He has led orientations for hundreds of departing US students and incoming international students over the years. In this episode, we learn more about these orientations and why they are so important to ensure that students have a great program. Dave also shares about his experience in Austria, and the long relationship he continues to have with his host family.

In honor of AFS’s 75th anniversary, The AFS Exchange is releasing 4 episodes this month! That’s 4 times the stories of the impact AFS has had over the years.

Guests: Dave Schrader, Dona Goede, Martha Friend

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Study Abroad: afsusa.org/study-abroad

Volunteer: afsusa.org/volunteer

Host: afsusa.org/host

Contact us: [email protected]

Celebrating 75 Years of Exchange: Fen Namwat

6 years ago, Fen left Bangkok, Thailand to begin his AFS year outside of Houston, Texas. In this episode, Fen shares his insights on his exchange year with 6 years’ worth of distance. He shares the skills he took away from his time in the US, and we hear his advice for future exchange students.

In honor of AFS’s 75th anniversary, The AFS Exchange is releasing 4 episodes this month! 

Guest: Fen Namwat

Study Abroad with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/study-abroad

Host with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/host


Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Contact us: [email protected]

S2 Episode 5: Becoming a Global Citizen in Paraguay

The first time that Linda took an airplane was at age 17, heading to her AFS Program in Paraguay. Growing up in small-town Missouri, she was surprised her parents even let her go! But years later, her valuable experiences in Paraguay have continued to have an impact on her life and those around her. AFS’s goal: To build global citizens who can pass peace forward, creating a more just and peaceful world. That’s the #AFSEffect. 

Guest: Linda Shepard Salzer

Study Abroad with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/study-abroad

Host with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/host

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Contact us: [email protected]

S2 Episode 4: Life as an Exchange Student in the US

In this episode we hear from three of the 1000+ students that AFS-USA welcomed for the 2021-22 school year. Samira from Germany, Toby from Sweden, and Mira from Austria share about their host families, schools, and what life is like for a teenager in the U.S. These three teenagers have gained confidence, maturity, and problem-solving skills during their AFS program.

They have also become cultural ambassadors, sharing their home culture with their communities in the U.S. And once they’re back home? They will be Passing Peace Forward, spreading messages of intercultural understanding across typical divides, to create a more just and peaceful world. That’s the #AFSEffect.

Guests: Samira Saduzei, Toby Bern, Paul Krzyzaniak, Mira Hargassner

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Host with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/host

S2 Episode 3: What is an AFS Host Parent?

What does it mean to be an AFS Host Parent? It’s more than providing a bed and meals. As an AFS Host Family, you’ll welcome someone new into your home, share your everyday lives with them, and grow as you get to know each other and share your cultural perspectives. You’ll be surprised at how much you learn about yourself, your family, and community.

This episode includes three great conversations with host parents in the D.C. and Dallas metro areas. Listen to learn more about their motivations and expectations, and how bringing students into their homes has benefitted their families and themselves.

Guests: Sheri Belton-Gonzalez, Dallas; Rodney Warren, Dallas; Sarah Clapp, DC

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Host with AFS-USA: www.afsusa.org/host

Contact us: [email protected]

S2 Episode 2: AFSers in Schools

Welcoming exchange students into your classroom can benefit the entire school community! In this episode, we hear from AFS students in Indiana and Washington. They discuss their experiences as US high school students: activities they’ve been involved in, how things are different from home, and the positive impact of supportive teachers.

We also get the perspective of the teachers who work with these students. How have AFS students shared their culture and unique perspective in school, providing learning opportunities for their peers?

Guests: Medyen Jubran, Abbas Mortada, Mark Liepe, Brandi Asher (East Noble High School, Kendallville, IN);  Sai Charan Tharmani and Annie DeGroot (Rainier Beach High School, Seattle, WA)

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program (YES): www.yesprograms.org

S2 Episode 1: Growing as an AFS Volunteer

Welcome back to The AFS Exchange for Season 2! As an AFS volunteer, you gain skills that are valuable outside of AFS. Intercultural communication, leadership, marketing, event planning, content creation, project management, and more. In this episode we hear from 3 AFS volunteers who are all at points of transition in their lives. How has their volunteer experience equipped them with valuable skills to move confidently forward?

Guests: Chelsea Kidd, Chloe Marette, Anna Harris
Volunteer with AFS-USA: [email protected]

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

S1 Episode 6: 26.2 Miles to France

This episode features an interview with Zodi Schwind, an AFS returnee who studied in France. We chat about her unique upbringing on a hospital ship off the coast of West Africa, her family, and her takeaways from her time abroad. We also learn how she fundraised $10,000 for her program in France by running a marathon! PS – she also won in her age category!

Guest: Zodi Schwind

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

S1 Episode 5: Interview with an Ambulance Driver

This episode starts out with a brief history of the American Field Service. Next, we hear from Steve Riford, one of the AFS Ambulance Drivers during WWII. Steve shares stories of his time with the American Field Service- from boat rides and bagpipes to loud cannons and lost windshield wipers. After volunteering with AFS, Steve became a member of the New York State Assembly and the New York State Senate.

Guest: Steve Riford, WWII AFS Ambulance Driver

AFS Archives: afs.org/archives

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

S1 Episode 4: Advice from Us to You

This episode provides advice for AFS participants beginning their program abroad. AFS-USA staff were surveyed with two questions: What piece of advice would you have for new participants, and what’s something that surprised you about your time abroad? 

We will hear from staff who studied abroad in Malaysia, Argentina, Uzbekistan, France, Australia, Russia, Germany, and more! While this advice is geared for study abroad participants, it is also relevant to anyone involved with AFS this fall. Major themes? Be open-minded, be flexible, and don’t be afraid to talk to new people!

Guests: Tara Hofmann (AFS-USA President and CEO), Akemi Akaiwa, Julie Ball, Keri Dooley, Libby Gartland, Melvin Harmon, Scott Hume, Paula Zhang

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

S1 Episode 3: Egypt, Iceland, and How it all Began

This episode features an interview with Nico, an AFS alum from the U.S. who was first involved with AFS thanks to his mother, an AFS exchange student to the U.S. from Italy. We’ll hear from Nico about his experiences as an AFS participant in Egypt, AFS volunteer traditions in other countries, and how you can always come back as an AFS volunteer, even if you took some time off!

Guest: Nico Borbely
Mini Segment Guests: Patricia Chery, Alicia Chery

AFScast Paraguay can be found on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

S1 Episode 2: AFS School Champions

In this episode high school administrators from Ohio, West Virginia, and California provide insight about the value of welcoming AFS international exchange students into their school communities. We’ll hear about football games, hallway stampedes, lunchroom awkwardness, and… High School Musical? 

Guests:
Ben McMurray, Ottawa Hills Junior/Senior High School (OH)
TJ Connor, Keyser High School (WV)
Karen Gordon, Valley Charter High School (CA)

Kristján Gislason on Instagram: @slidingthrough
Kennedy Lugar YES Program: yesprograms.org 


Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

S1 Episode 1: A Lifelong AFSer

In this episode, we chat with Kim from Wisconsin. Kim has been a host sibling, host parent, study abroad participant, and sending parent. Kim shares tips for host parents and discusses how she brings intercultural education into the preschool classroom. We also hear from a volunteer with AFS Brazil about the history of the Portuguese language in Brazil.  

Guest: Kim Thompson
Brazilian Portuguese history read by: Júlia Herszenhut
AFScast Brasil on Instagram: @afscastbrasil 

Click here to access a full transcript of this episode or to listen on a different platform.

Do you have questions about this podcast? Contact us at [email protected]. Thank you for listening!