AFS-USA knows and understand the value of building relationships with schools. Here is a presentation that was given regarding how the pre-existing system of extracurricular activities in schools can and should be leveraged to find opportunities to meet with students, faculty, and community members. Click here to see the digital corkboard (Padlet) where volunteers who participated in the presentation (above) posted their lists of clubs and activities that would be a good fit to connect with schools. We hope this gives you ideas for connecting to your local schools.
As you will note both in the Padlet hyperlinked above and by viewing the PowerPoint presentation , there are a variety of clubs that have an easy connection to a great offering from AFS-USA. See the examples below to start generating ideas for your local community.
- K-Pop (Korean Pop Music fans) Club: Share about the NSLI-Y scholarships and the idea of hosting a student who has a similar interest in K-Pop music.
- Language clubs (French, German, Spanish, etc.): Share about Global Prep and study abroad programs, scholarships, and encourage the students to host an individual from the target culture. There are quite a few programs designed for language study over the summer!
- Robotics, STEM, Environmental or Science Clubs: Share information about the AFS Global STEM Academies and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). You can share the Effect + Toolkit with the club sponsor as it is filled with activities to introduce the SDGs to groups of students.
- Anime Club: Share about traveling to Japan for the summer language program or a longer program, hosting a Japanese student, or the Yoshi Hattori scholarship to Japan.
- Art Club: Share information about the Exploration of Art and History Global Prep Program in the Czech Republic.
- Service Oriented Clubs (National Honor Society, Key Club, etc.): Share ways that teenagers can volunteer with AFS-USA, collaborate with exchange students on local community service events, and even share some of the community service focused programs over the summer to study abroad.
- Multicultural, International, Global Clubs: Talk about hosting and share the portfolio of scholarships that are applicable to that area. This is also a great group with whom to share the YES Abroad Scholarships, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Global You Adventurer and Changemaker virtual exchange programs.
- Yearbook, Newspaper & Journalism Clubs: Share our Media Literacy information and talk about about potential news articles that could be written to leverage the unique perspectives of currently hosted exchange students.
- Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) & LGBTQ+ Clubs: Share about Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives by AFS-USA and the organization’s support of LGBTQIA+ youth and host families. (See the other half of this presentation about understanding Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access.)
This is not an exhaustive list of options for you to consider and all schools are different. The extracurricular offerings at many schools are dictated by the students so if you have a school with a bundle of exchange students annually, help them get an international club started that is inclusive of all exchange students, returnees, and any students interested or supportive of international ideas/initiatives. You can use the UN Sustainable Development Goals or current events to prompt discussion each meeting or highlight the countries/cultures of one of the students at each meeting!
The teachers or faculty advisors of these clubs are already giving their time to help plan and organize these club meetings. You are helping them if you are bringing in the ideas and content to fill a meeting. This is a great way to both expose students and the community to AFS, but also to befriend an educator who would welcome a volunteer who will take something off their plate! The gift of time to an educator is invaluable.