Michigan 4-H International Exchange opportunities: Part 2

Michigan 4-H International Exchange opportunities provide families and communities with global and cultural competence. Learn more about how you can get involved!

In Part 2 of this Michigan State University Extension series, we will continue to share how Michigan 4-H International Exchange programs provide Michigan families and communities with opportunities to build global and cultural competence as well as a .

In addition to going abroad, which was covered in Part 1 of this series, another cultural opportunity can be to become a host family. Host families should represent the broad diversity of Michigan families; including families from rural and urban communities, single-parent families, and families from all religious, racial, and ethnic backgrounds.

Michigan 4-H is currently recruiting host families interested in opening their home and hearts to 28 Japanese youth between the ages of 12 and 15 years from July 26 to Aug 22, 2014. In addition, Michigan 4-H is looking for host families for six to eight Belizean delegates from approximately late June to mid-July 2014. In 2015, Michigan 4-H will be recruiting host families for Poland.

Besides these one month summer exchange programs, a family can also become involved with a year-long program, including hosting FLEX (Future Leaders Exchange Program) and Japanese LABO youth from August 2014 to mid-June 2015. Michigan plans to host five year-long FLEX high school students and two Japanese students between the ages of 15-18. Countries participating in the FLEX program include: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. The Japanese delegates have participated in the States’ 4-H International Exchange Program, learning about the cultures, customs and lifestyles of Americans by living with host families through a home-stay program. Each of these international youth exchange programs promote cross-cultural understanding through the development of personal relationships between members of different countries and cultures.

If traveling or hosting is a challenge, Michigan 4-H also has the Michigan 4-H China Art Exchange Program opportunity available. Since 1988, Michigan 4-H has partnered with China and one of the many significant efforts to come out of this partnership is the 4-H China Art Project. There is also an opportunity to do activities from the new Michigan 4-H Backpack to Adventure: Youth Leaders in a Global World (4H1643) curriculum which is available in print or electronic versions at the MSU Extension Bookstore.

For more information on these life changing experiences, check out the Michigan 4-H International Exchange Programs website or Facebook page. To participate, contact your local 4-H Program Coordinator and fill out the Host Family Application. For more information on how to get involved, contact your county MSU Extension office or MSUE 4-H International Exchange Programs Coordinator Heather Gray at 517- 355-2361 or grayhea2@anr.msu.edu.

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