With the support of the Marshall Plan Foundation and the ERP Fund, a 10-day teacher exchange is being organized with our AFS partner in Austria. In 2022, teachers in Muscatine, Iowa (U.S.) participated in a homestay and school-based exchange experience with teachers in the city of Graz in Styria (Austria). Prior to the exchange, educators from both countries participated in the Global Competence Certificate program to learn more about themselves and how to navigate cultural differences while getting to know one another throughout the summer months.
For 2023, we are planning for a similar exchange in Western Pennsylvania. The physical exchange will take place in the fall and participating teachers will join their partner teacher’s classroom and school through visits, observations, and guest talks about their home country and culture. Teachers will gain insight into the educational system of their host country as well as live with their partner teacher for the duration of the experience. They will also engage in multiple cultural activities to learn more about daily life in the local host community.
We hope that this program encourages teachers in both communities to establish a lifelong connection, both as individuals and as educators, so both communities benefit for many years through interaction with the other classroom abroad. Additionally, we hope the schools, communities, and participating teachers learn more about the AFS Mission and how important intercultural learning and exchange are for students and adults.