Michigan 4-H International Exchange opportunities: Part 1

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

A 2011 Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) Educating for Global Competence: Preparing Our Youth to Engage the World resource publication states, “The growing global interdependence that characterizes our time calls for a generation of individuals who can engage in effective global problem solving and participate simultaneously in local, national, and global civic life.” Michigan 4-H Youth Development provides Michigan families and communities with many opportunities to build this important global and cultural competence.

Michigan 4-H recently released a new and exciting global leadership curriculum that addresses important global and cultural competencies increasingly important in our globalized world. The 4-H global leadership curriculum will assist volunteers, parents/guardians, professionals and other youth educators in developing the knowledge and skills they need to become youth leaders in a global environment.

In addition to this curriculum, Michigan 4-H participates in a variety of exchange programs with Japan, Poland, Belize and more each year! In 2014, 4-H youth will be traveling to Poland and Japan. Although the Japanese program is past the application deadline, Poland is currently recruiting for travel that will be from approximately June 30, 2014 to July 21, 2014. This opportunity is open to youth 14 to 19 years of age. For those interested, a completed application, signed participant agreement and a deposit are due by April 4.

The opportunity for Michigan teens to travel to Poland through the Michigan 4-H International Exchange is coordinated by Michigan State University Extension and the Polish 4-H Foundation. In 1993, the National Polish 4-H Foundation was created in Warsaw with the Michigan 4-H Foundation serving as its organizational partner. This relationship was designed to help foster 4-H youth development programming for Polish youth and to foster cultural sharing that can enhance programming in both countries.

By participating in a Michigan 4-H International exchange opportunity, individuals will be gaining global and cultural competence as well as:

  • Sharing an appreciation of the social, economic, political and cultural contributions of all people.
  • Developing a better understanding of how culture influences values, beliefs and attitudes.
  • Having an opportunity to practice and share foreign language, verbal and nonverbal communication skills.
  • Acquiring specific subject matter skills and knowledge.
  • Sharing the international experience.
  • Having a positive difference in the life of a person
  • Building life-long international friendships

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 county MSU Extension office or MSUE 4-H International Exchange Programs Coordinator Heather Gray at 517- 355-2361 or grayhea2@anr.msu.edu.

In Part 2 of this series, we will continue to explore how you can make your global connection through a Michigan 4-H International exchange program.

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