Global Up programs have empowered thousands of students, educators, and professionals across a variety of disciplines from around the world with global skills like critical thinking, cross-cultural communication, and open-mindedness. 

Education New Zealand Manapou ki te Ao (ENZ) in partnership with AFS and Massey University delivered this program to students, faculty and educators from New Zealand and 13 other countries in Asia (China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam) and South America (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru). By the end of 2021, Global Up programs will have reached 1,000 learners thanks to ENZ.

AFS Intercultural Programs is the global non-profit that originally developed Global Up as a way to deliver the award-winning Global Competence Certificate to learners of all ages who may or may not experience studying, working or traveling abroad. In 2020, AFS partnered with ENZ, New Zealand’s agency responsible for international education, and Massey University, a leading higher education institution, to expand the impact of this program. The partnership is expected to extend well into 2022 and beyond. 


Aligned with the future proof national education strategy

Locally known as “The New Zealand Global Competence Certificate,” this program has come as an innovative and timely solution for international education in times of closed borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The program directly supports the government of New Zealand’s International Education Strategy and helps students and teachers develop their cross-cultural skills together with their global peers.

“As well as helping to develop the global citizens of tomorrow, this programme demonstrates the reciprocal benefits of international education, giving our rangatahi a chance to learn with high school students from around the world, and giving their offshore peers a chance to learn ‘with’ New Zealand and our unique way of thinking,” says Grant McPherson, ENZ Chief Executive.

Linda Stuart, AFS’s Director of Global Education Innovation, reflects: “This is a time of great international effort to build global competence amongst young people through virtual exchange. Global Up is now used in over 60 countries with 15,000 learners and the ENZ partnership proves that the program can be scalable and meaningful at the same time.”   

Sound research-based preparation for our interconnected world

“I learnt about understanding other people and their views, even if you may not agree with them,” says Grace, one of the students from New Zealand who participated in this program. 

Global Up programs achieve their impact thanks to their research-backed content which develops cultural self-awareness, empathy for others, and ways to connect in multicultural settings. It comprises 18 online modules and four live, facilitated dialogue sessions, covering topics such as stereotypes, intercultural communication styles, dealing with conflict, and resilience.

Multiple research studies have proven the effectiveness of this program, with one Purdue University study finding that this program’s “learners are more effective intercultural communicators, they are equipped to resolve conflict and are able to bridge differences.”

Global competence sets up learners for the future of work, which is increasingly intercultural and global. In a recent study conducted by ENZ, businesses who employed staff with cross-cultural competencies found this contributed to a more energising workplace, which helped to foster creativity and innovation as well as other benefits.

“Global competence is mission-critical for our world. Educating more young people to become global citizens is crucial if we want to create a more just and peaceful world. At AFS we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to intercultural learning where learners gain skills such as cross-cultural communication, empathy, and conflict resolution to learn how to effectively bridge differences,” concludes Daniel Obst, President and CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs.

Watch this webinar recording where Mary Camp, ENZ Business Development Manager, explains more about the impact of Global Up programs in New Zealand.

Read the study of the outcomes and effectiveness of the Global Competence Certificate conducted by ENZ among its students in November 2021. 


Find out more about this global competence program in New Zealand: