Quiz: Put Your Global Knowledge to the Test

What does it mean to be "globally competent"? This difficult-sounding term is becoming more and more common in both offices and universities around the world—and students who take the initiative to become globally competent gain a major advantage over their peers, especially for careers in international relations, business, and public service.

Global competence focuses on developing the skills to understand and engage with people from different cultures. Young people who are globally competent are more open to new ideas and opportunities and ready to address future challenges in college and beyond. They’re better prepared for international adventure, and increasingly capable of addressing major world issues like poverty, climate change, and economic instability.

Test your own global knowledge with these ten questions and find out how much you know about the world around you:

  1. Which country has the largest Muslim population?
    • A. Saudi Arabia
    • B. Ghana
    • C. India
    • D. Indonesia
      AFSers from Indonesia.Indonesia is home to 2 million Muslims, which makes up over 88% of the country’s population.
  2. True or False: Italy is the world’s inventor of pasta and the originator of tomatoes.
    • A. True
    • B. False
      13th century explorer Marco Polo brought noodles back from China to Italy. The tomato originates in Central and South America and wasn’t brought back to Europe until the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
  3. The cow is sacred according to which religion?
    • A. Hinduism
      Cow wandering the street.Respect for animal life is central to Hindu belief, and the cow is especially revered. In Hindu nations like India and Nepal, a person can be sent to jail for injuring or killing a cow.
    • B. Confucianism
    • C. Buddhism
    • D. Islam
  4. Which country was the first to make fortune cookies?
    • A. China
    • B. Thailand
    • C. The U.S.
      The largest fortune cookie manufacturer, Wonton Food Inc., is actually located in Brooklyn, NY.
    • D. Ireland
  5. True or False: India has a larger population than China.
    • A. True
    • B. False
      China’s population is roughly 1.3 billion, while India’s is a (mere) 1.2 billion
  6. Which country has the highest population of Roman Catholics in the world?
    • A. Mexico
    • B. Brazil
      Latin America accounts for 41.3% of the world’s Catholic population. With an estimated 150 million Catholics, Brazil has the highest number of Catholics in Latin America and the world.
    • C. The Philippines
    • D. The U.S.
  7. True or False: the United States has 40 million foreign-born residents?
    • A. True
      AFSers of different nationalities.With 40 million foreign-born residents, the United States is a global community with deep ties to many different nations and cultures.
    • B. False
  8. Which language is spoken by most people in the world as their primary language?
    • A. Spanish
    • B. Mandarin Chinese
      With 995 million speakers, Mandarin is the native language of 14.4% of the world’s population.
    • C. English
    • D. Arabic
  9. True or False: the U.S. has roughly 5% of the world’s population.
    • A. True
      The population of the U.S. was 319 million as of July, 2014, according to the U.S. Census. This accounts for around 4.4% of the world’s 7.7 billion population.
    • B. False
  10. True or False: 15% of the world’s population is illiterate.
    • A. True
      Students in Colombia. Statistics vary depending on the source, but most say that 85% of the world’s population is literate. Literacy rates are on the rise in general, but they tend to lag behind for girls and women in many parts of the world.
    • B. False
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Many high schoolers (and even adults) don’t know the answers to the above questions, but those who are ready and willing to learn are uniquely positioned to become the next generation’s dedicated change-makers and global citizens.

Check your answers to the quiz, and see how you did. Then find out how you can increase your global competency by discovering the AFS Effect through a culturally-immersive study abroad program.

(For more information, visit the New York Times article that inspired this post, “Preparing Young Americans for a Complex World.”)


Join AFS-USA in creating peace through understanding by studying abroad, hosting an exchange student, or volunteering in your community.