Learning as a Journey of 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 authentically.
While this is still a time to address the AFS Educational Goals, because of the timing and emotional state of the students, keep the learning touch points simple, practical and relevant for the first few weeks. Volunteers conducting this orientation should focus on helping students understand that AFS is there to support them and show them ways to seek practical support.
Volunteers works with students to more deeply develop constructive coping strategies and appropriate communications skills, which will be built on in the upcoming months of the intercultural experience.
As students' local language abilities and knowledge of the host culture improve, this is an opportunity to help them further explore how to develop their intercultural effectiveness.
This orientation focuses on students reviewing their entire experience, making sure they plan for the last weeks and get ready for the challenges waiting for them back home.
This orientation gives the students one last chance to say goodbye, gather together and gain closure around their AFS experience.