All of our sponsored programs students are called upon to complete a series of enrichment activities as a requirement of the programs. These activities are meant to provide students with first-hand insight into American political and social infrastructure, our cultural heritage and values, as well as the concept of “civil society”. Learning through interaction with local leaders in a variety of different fields helps students to develop their own interests and leadership abilities.
The activities should be looked upon as an opportunity to enjoy creative and positive contact with sponsored students in your area on a semi-regular basis. Some activities might not turn out exactly as you would have liked, but each is sure to be a positive experience from which some important information will be gained.
The three required enrichment activity topics for all sponsored students are:
- Cultural Diversity/Native Peoples
- Community Service/Volunteerism
YES students should participate in a minimum of six activities (three for those arriving in January). CBYX students should participate in a minimum of three activities. While the required topics must be covered during the course of the academic year, other foci may be included as well. Many Cluster Coordinators have found activities in areas such as the press and media, organization and funding of cultural institutions, juvenile adjudication, health care, etc., to be informative and enjoyable.
Each activity should have defined learning objectives. Learning objectives are tangible goals that will help Cluster Coordinators and students focus on a specific area within the theme of the activity.
Some examples of learning objectives for a visit to a local newspaper:
- To learn the methods and technology used in publishing a newspaper
- To learn about the roles and responsibilities of writers and editors in reporting the news
- To learn about ideas such as the accountability of the press versus freedom of expression
While enrichment activities should be fun, they should also have educational content. A trip to see a concert or play might be acceptable if it includes a discussion of how these productions are organized and a discussion of the funding of the production, whether for-profit or not-for-profit.
Aside from the fact that cluster activities should engage, not merely expose students to American culture, enrichment activities that do not have articulated educational content cannot be reimbursed through the U.S. Department of State funding. Further, activities that may involve substantial risk, such as volunteering at an unsafe construction site, handling weapons or firearms, or exposure to hazardous materials, are not allowed. If there is ever any question about whether a proposed activity qualifies, please check with the Sponsored Programs Team.