“They were really new to intercultural learning and they loved it! They had so much to share, it made them have a different perspective on themselves and their own neighborhoods without having to go abroad,” says Anaïs Chauvet after facilitating her last session of the first ever group of participants in the AFS Global You Adventurer program.
AFS Global You Adventurer is a new, truly global, completely virtual learning program for young people (14-17 years old) to learn about connecting with people across cultures and become part of a global community. The first group of teens started this 5-week program at the end of June, and as they concluded their experience, the AFS facilitator and Global Competence Certificate Consultant, Anaïs, shared her impressions with us.
“I would recommend this program to anyone because it’s empowering and it shows participants that you don’t need to be 50 years old or have been all around the world to become a global citizen and do your part in this global community,” Anaïs emphasized.
Anaïs has been a volunteer at AFS in France since 2010, where she gained a lot of experience in facilitating in-person orientations and workshops that help teens learn from their experiences. In 2018, Anaïs started building her skills in digital learning and online facilitation, by becoming a Qualified Facilitator of the AFS Global Competence Certificate, an award-winning blended learning program that empowers adults with global skills.
“It’s always super interesting to meet new participants. What surprised me the most about this group was the diversity of identities in the cohort. We had 25 participants from 16 different countries, who had very different personal identities. Most participants had never been on an exchange program before, which made them even more eager to learn about other cultures.”
In AFS Global You Adventurer participants go through a set of 20 modules which help them learn more about themselves, about others, about their emotional intelligence and about how they can bridge across differences. It takes around 16 hours to complete the virtual sessions, while participants are also invited to join four special facilitated live online sessions where they can connect with each other in real time. It all culminates with participants receiving their AFS Global Competence Certificate to help them stand apart, prepare them for their future studies and work, and become a member of the AFS global network.
While all participants go through the same content, each one can have their own take on the course. Anaïs explains, “It was really interesting because the takeaways were different for each participant. Some learnt a lot about their own identity, others were really keen to learn more about empathy or conflict styles, some appreciated putting words to things they had experienced before, like cultural values. But I believe that what they loved most was to meet new people who became real friends to them all around the world, this really made a difference for them.”
Like in other workshops and learning settings, there were unexpected benefits for the participants of AFS Global You Adventurer as well. Anaïs shared more: “Our joint conversations really helped our participants get to know each other. Without my help, they took it upon themselves to create a shared music playlist or schedule times to watch a movie together so they can comment on it.”
So far, more than 120 teens from around the world have enrolled in the AFS Global You Adventurer. Upcoming program start dates are August 18 and September 15. More information and enrollments are available at afs.org/afs-global-you-adventurer.