AFS Intercultural Programs has been invited by Education New Zealand, a government agency,  to become an official content partner for the New Zealand International Education Conference and Expo (NZIEC), an event with a 21-year-long tradition of bringing together more than 700 international education leaders from around the world. AFS will offer sessions on the Global Competence Certificate (GCC), the Mapping Generation Z study, Student and Host Family Learning Journey Curricula, and facilitate two pre-conference workshops this August in Wellington.

Explore the AFS sessions here and visit the NZIEC website for more information:

8 August at 1 pm

AFS Workshop: Global competence in international education

“Improving education systems […] requires creating learning environments that invite young people to understand the world beyond their immediate environment, interact with others with respect for their rights and dignity, and take action toward building thriving, multicultural communities. This is what global competence is about” – Andreas Schleicher, OECD.

In this workshop, we will explore the concept of global competence, why it is of growing importance and how your organisation can embrace it.

Involving participants (international students, homestay families, teachers or staff) in activities to develop intercultural competences is a challenge when they do not perceive such skills as important. How do you inspire their curiosity in those instances?

In this workshop, you will have a chance to participate in experiential activities that enhance intercultural skills. We will discuss strategies for implementing these activities in different settings and identify ways to turn brief experiences into long-lasting learning for your audience.

Who should attend: International education faculty and staff, trainers and others who are involved in developing global competence or intercultural diversity training in education.

Facilitators: Carla Rey Vasquez, Organizational Development Specialist at AFS New Zealand, and Marcela Lapertosa, Director of Education and Intercultural Learning at AFS Intercultural Programs.

8 August at 1 pm

AFS workshop: High-tech solutions for global competence programmes

Research shows that merely coming into contact with cultural differences doesn’t develop global competence in students. However, they do develop these skills when taught within a developmental, experiential and holistic framework.

This workshop offers three frameworks that can provide a foundation for your curriculum to build global competence in both inbound and outbound students.

As many people believe that global competence educational programmes require a high-touch, low-tech learning environment, we will also explore how you can leverage technology as a companion to in-person learning, and address strategies to overcome personal and institutional resistance to using technology in educational programs.

Who should attend: Tertiary educators who would like to increase their understanding of how to integrate intercultural learning and global competence into existing curriculum and student mobility programs – by leveraging technology – should join this course.

Facilitator: Bert Vercamer, Chief Program Innovation and Educational Products Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs

9 August at 11 am

Global competence development in international education: Tools to make it happen!

Building on 70 years of study abroad programmes and intercultural research, AFS recently completed an extensive review of best practices and pedagogical studies from across the field to identify the most effective tools and programmatic factors to enhance students’ intercultural development while they take part in study abroad or domestic exchanges.

This research underlined that immersion only is not enough for participants to develop global competence. In order to ensure that our international education programmes develop global citizens, strong programmatic intervention is needed. Skilled facilitation, regular reflection and a holistic approach are only some of the recommendations from experts.

These insights resulted in the creation of a new, goal-based curriculum for study abroad participants; the AFS Student Learning Journey Curriculum. By attending this session you will learn about AFS’ state of the art curriculum and gain tools to effectively and practically implement intercultural learning in your own institution.

Facilitator: Marcela Lapertosa, Director of Education and Intercultural Learning at AFS Intercultural Programs

9 August at 3.20 pm

From research to practice: Enhancing global competence through blended learning

Based on top-of-the-field research, Sentio developed a modular blended-learning (online/digital media with traditional classroom methods) curriculum, The Global Competence Certificate, to provide intercultural learning and global competence to young adults who are engaged in study abroad or other mobility programmes. The programme uses a “flipped” classroom approach plus peer learning supported by trained facilitators. It is currently being piloted by 900 sojourners, some of whom are using the online only version, while others are using a combination of online and offline.

In this session, we will share lessons learned during the development of this programme and discuss how research was applied to inform practice in each:

  • The importance of effective cultural mentoring and guided reflection by skilled individuals
  • The need to share culture-general frameworks and culture-specific content up-front (pre-departure)
  • Providing ongoing support to reinforce and apply concepts throughout the programme (before, during, and after) regardless of programme length
  • Including time for regular reflection in programme design, and
  • The necessity of a developmental approach (from less to more challenging intercultural growth opportunities, from more mono-cultural to more intercultural mindset development, etc.).

Facilitator: Bert Vercamer, Chief Program Innovation and Educational Products Officer at AFS Intercultural Programs

10 August at 11.15 am

Mapping Generation Z: Attitudes toward international education programmes

Mapping Generation Z is a truly global, first-of-its-kind report exploring the motivations for and hindrances to international study among the youngest generation, Generation Z. Conducted by AFS Intercultural Programs, the goal of this study is to reveal the perceptions of present-day teenagers (ages 13-18) on studying and living abroad, experiencing new ideas and immersing themselves in drastically different cultures than their own. How do various factors play into the student decision-making process for international education programmes?

Participants to this session will examine some of the key, most relevant and surprising findings including:

  • Cultural exploration as the main motivation to go abroad prevails in all global regions
  • Affordability remains a barrier to student mobility
  • Programme specifics emerge as the main choice influencing factors
  • Apprehensiveness about security tops the list of concerns.

The presentation will also elaborate on other aspects that most likely play a role in a prospective participant’s decision to undertake study abroad. These include a variety of influencing factors and actors, initial attitudes of destination countries, price sensitivity, and personal concerns. Those interested in creating and fine-tuning product offerings for Generation Z will benefit from insights shared during this session.

Facilitator: Hristo Banov, Manager of Business Analytics and Impact Measurement at AFS Intercultural Programs

10 August at 2.10 pm

The missing piece: Supporting host families to double our impact

While research suggests that host families play a crucial role in study abroad programmes, and in particular in making students feel valued and welcomed in our communities, the role that host families play and the learning outcomes they gain from the experience are largely unexplored.

In this presentation, we will explore existing research about the part host families play in international education, and the impact that host-participant relationships can have in students’ and hosts’ experiences. It will address the challenges and opportunities that engaging host families pose, both in terms of fostering their own professional development and aiding their role as key cultural informants and facilitators for the people they are hosting. We will then investigate best practices, in order to make sure we double up impact when helping people develop intercultural competence.

Based on the AFS Intercultural Programs Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey, you will leave with practical approaches and activities to be used before, during and after the intercultural experience.

Facilitator: Carla Rey Vasquez, Organizational Development Specialist at AFS New Zealand

Visit the conference website