by Sean Reilly, Director of Program Development, AFS Intercultural Programs; and Milena Miladinovic, Communications & External Affairs at AFS Intercultural Programs

AFS Global You programs—short-term, flexible, online certificate programs—provide opportunities for young people to enhance their global competence and communication skills, connect with global peers, and explore diverse cultures. A key feature that makes AFS online programs special is that they are truly global, with scholarships and different language options available to ensure the inclusion of different perspectives from around the world. This innovative approach combines independent, self-paced learning with live, face-to-face dialogue, which allows students a dynamic and intercultural exchange experience with AFS like never before.

Exploring the world from home

AFS Global You Adventurer, our 5-week interactive online certificate program, is open to teens aged 14-17, anywhere in the world, who are curious to explore different cultures and interact with global peers. Adventurer brings together diverse cohorts of teens to enhance self-awareness, cultural awareness, empathy, emotional intelligence, and intercultural understanding. More than 365 students from 43 countries have enrolled since June 2020, forming truly diverse and global cohorts. The participants’ excitement about the program and its benefits is reflected in their words:

“It gave me skills that I will be using in my daily life, when I have a job, when I travel, when I meet new people. It also gave me the opportunity of meeting new people from all over the world, so I expanded my vision of how the world works and how our cultures influence our behavior.”

In this innovative online program, students participate in a mixed curriculum of self-paced interactive modules, live facilitated dialogue sessions with global peers, online activities and forums, all guided and mentored by trained AFS facilitators. With cohorts running year-round, participants enjoy the flexible program format (approximately 2-3 hours per week), which is tailored to their unique schedules and diverse time zones. Upon completion, students earn the AFS Global Competence Certificate, and become part of the global AFS community Click here to learn more and apply.

Scholarships are available now

A range of scholarships is now available to enable a wide range of young people to participate in the Global you Adventurer program:

  • 50 partial scholarships (worth $200 each) are available for Global You Adventurer throughout 2021! Awards are merit-based and first-come, first-served. Learn more and apply here.
  • 25 full scholarships (worth $315 each) are available for the cohorts beginning in May and June, 2021. Learn more and apply here.

Scholarships for the program are made possible in part by a grant from the Stevens Initiative and other generous donors. All scholarship applicants should submit a brief essay sharing how they plan to leverage diversity to address a challenge that they observe in their community. Applications are due by 1 week prior to the start date of each respective cohort. 

Hablamos español!

AFS will run three editions of Global You Adventurer in Spanish, which will feature online modules, activities, and live dialogue sessions all facilitated in Spanish. Enrollment is open to students worldwide with conversational fluency in Spanish for programs starting July 6, December 28, 2021 and January 11, 2022. Learn more and sign up for the Spanish edition here.

What are students saying?

In a survey of former participants, 98% said the program helped them process cultural differences, 97% reported the highest satisfaction rating of their facilitators, and 90% of participants scored the program with the highest satisfaction rating overall.

“I loved it very much. I am so glad that I signed up because I learned so much about myself and our world. It helps me be more aware and ready to create change. I also met so many people!”

Adventurer has been a great fit for young people whether their study abroad programs were disrupted by COVID-19, or if they might not have access to traditional study abroad. Adventurer is also a great fit for students who are curious to learn about new cultures before traveling abroad, or those looking to enhance their digital and intercultural communication skills with an innovative certificate program.

New opportunities open up with Virtual Exchange 

Adventurer opens a new world of possibilities to have an intercultural experience with AFS. Online learning has grown steadily over the past decade, as the internet makes way for more inclusive opportunities to gain new skills and education, and this trend is expected to continue well after the pandemic. The benefits of virtual exchange are supported by a growing field of academic research on the positive impacts of online learning, and further fueled by demand from employers seeking 21st-century communication skills to compete in an expanding global market.

AFS will contribute to the field of research thanks to a grant awarded by The Stevens Initiative for the “Strengthening the Field: Catalyzing Research in Virtual Exchange” study. AFS will look into the efficacy of virtual exchange in strengthening global competence by analyzing results of the Global You Adventurer program with cohorts beginning between April 20 and June 15. Learn more about this study here.