Explore our innovative offerings


Global Up: a blended learning program for all ages

Global Up is a research-based interactive program that equips learners with tangible global competence skills through versions developed for different age-groups (adults and teens) and audiences (HEI, workplaces, schools, and more). At the end of the program, learners earn the AFS Global Competence Certificate.

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AFS Effect+ Program: bringing Active Global Citizenship to schools

AFS Effect+ Program is a hands-on learning program that introduces students to the UN SDGs and how to work together to help advance these goals in their communities. The current AFS Effect+ versions include workshops for teens led by AFS facilitators and a fully free Classroom Edition of the Program for high-school teachers with training and resources.

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AFS Global You Programs: fully virtual exchanges for teens

Now teens don’t have to travel to become exchange students. Teens can experience intercultural learning, meet peers around the world, and become Global Citizens from home! AFS Global You are high-impact, educational, fun, and truly global virtual programs based on decades of expertise in the field, these programs build personal and professional changemaker mindset and skills.

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Our educational methodology: How we help students become global citizens

AFS empowers students, families, volunteers, staff, and all people it touches with essential global skills—and the passion for making a difference.

As a global education organization with 100+ years of experience, we envision a world in which people from all backgrounds embrace differences and believe that we are stronger because of them, a world where individuals and institutions are empowered to actively work towards advancing global understanding, and take action for collective well-being and sustainable development.

AFS educational programs and initiatives offer a transformative learning journey: through our educational programs and initiatives, we put learners at the center of their learning journeys, guiding and supporting them along the way. Learners reflect on how they impact the world around them and learn how to build bridges among cultures and work together to create positive change. They are then encouraged to experiment and put into practice based on insights gained—and continue the cycle of learning.

  • Transformative
  • Goal-based
  • Non-formal (a complement to the classroom)
  • Experiential
  • Lifelong

These principles guide the AFS Student Learning Journey in which student participants work toward the AFS Educational Goals in a progressive, developmentally designed manner to become interculturally competent, responsible global citizens and agents of positive social change.

AFS believes that intercultural challenges and learning moments are inevitable parts of our everyday lives, our classrooms and public spaces. To prepare students to engage effectively across cultural and other differences, we take our young participants on a transformative learning journey. Through our programs and other offerings, we help participants:

  • Learn firsthand about the impact of culture on values and the decisions
    they make,
  • Gain the ability to better see themselves through the eyes of others
  • Challenge assumptions,
  • Broaden their views on cultural stereotypes and global issues,
  • Begin to understand how to shift perspectives effectively, appropriately and

Intercultural education reinforces 21st century education goals

We empower people from all backgrounds to:

Broaden perspectives

about themselves and the world around them


Learn and respect differences

and believe a diverse world is a stronger and more interesting place


Communicate and collaborate across cultures

in a sensitive and mindful way


Appreciate other cultures

and encourage others to be open to new ideas, attitudes and traditions


Build skills to use in STEM and other key areas

by using critical thinking and problem solving activities


Become part of the AFS global community

to build bridges across cultures and bring diverse communities together


AFS Global Citizenship Education Agenda supports

UN Sustainable Development Goal #4

Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning  

Specifically, Goal #4 focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to promote “sustainable development” and “sustainable lifestyles,” human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

Learn more about Goal #4

AFS Alliances & Partnerships

“There is a clear relevance of AFS’ work to the current programs and activities of UNESCO, particularly in the fields of education, youth, and intercultural dialogue. Indeed, cooperation between UNESCO and AFS has a solid foundation based on many areas of common interest, synergies and previous collaborations.”

—Irina Bokova, Director General, UNESCO

AFS has official recognition by Ministries of Education in 24 countries


As of 2015, AFS is proud to have entered into a “consultative status” partnership with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This status enables both organizations to collaborate on initiatives of mutual interest and social good.

AFS works closely and creatively with schools, universities, humanitarian and peace groups, governments and other NGOs on the issues that reflect our mission.

Go to UNESCO's Global Citizenship Education site

Latest education blogs and articles

  1. javier-trueba-vFJNeWJAA2g-unsplash

    New free resources for teachers to foster global competence

    World Teachers’ Day, celebrated annually on October 5, is a perfect opportunity to thank teachers for their hard work, and offer resources to support them in the future. AFS collaborates…
  2. brooke-cagle-609873-unsplash

    Global Up Successfully Connects 1,000 Young People from New Zealand and Abroad

    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. …
  3. Girl smiling in chemistry class

    AFS Virtual Education Programs Expand Their Reach and Impact

    AFS virtual educational offers, such as our Global Up and Global You programs, have significantly scaled up this year through new partnerships. We are on track to reach 5,000 participants…
  1. E+4C Toolkit Cover Photo

    Introducing the award-winning AFS Effect+ for the Classroom: Toolkit for Educators

    Educators can now download a new free resource, recognized by UNESCO-APCEIU, for teaching Active Global Citizenship & the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for high school students: the AFS Effect+…
  2. 194870960_10159632514261332_2861108372043050758_n

    New Generation of AFS Students Kicks Off Their Learning Journey

    1000+ future AFS exchange students joined the AFS Global Student MeetUp, a virtual preparation for their high school study abroad programs. Participants connected with one another across countries, interacted with…

    How to Start Bridging Cultural Differences in the Classroom

    by Andrés Peñaloza Lanza, Educator and School Relations Consultant at AFS Intercultural Programs According to the United Nations, three-quarters of the world’s major conflicts are rooted in cultural differences. Learning how…

AFS Now: Insights for Active Global Citizens

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