Study abroad shapes global citizens – AFS

Published 12/11/2019

Study abroad programs effectively prepare young people to navigate, work and volunteer in global and multicultural environments, with the majority (87%) of respondents to a new survey revealing that their experience enabled them to become “global citizens”.

“The results of this research speak to the true power of study abroad programs”

The report ‘Creating Global Citizens: The AFS Effect’ featured responses from 10,500 former participants of AFS study abroad programs in an effort to demonstrate their true power.

Through their study abroad programs, responding alumni said they gained a high level of understanding of the importance of different people living and working together (86%) and of their own cultural values and biases (86%), while 83% indicated that their experience helped them become more aware of challenges and issues facing the world.

Furthermore, nearly two-thirds of survey respondents said their exchange motivated them to become more involved in social causes on the local (64%) and global level (61%).

The study also shows that an international exchange experience also has a direct impact on 21st-century workplace skills and attitudes.

Among the survey respondents, 90% indicated that their exchange program helped them better communicate and collaborate with people from different cultures and backgrounds, while 84% said AFS helped them develop the ability to adapt in a diverse workplace environment.

Close to 70% of alumni agreed or strongly agreed that their exchange program improved their ability to work on a team.

“The results of this research speak to the true power of study abroad programs and their positive effects on building respect for diversity, which translates into a dynamic and thriving workforce,” said Daniel Obst, president & CEO of AFS Intercultural Programs.

“We are proud to discover that so many of our alumni credit their ability to adapt in a diverse workplace environment to their AFS experience abroad.”

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