“And my World” 4-H Global Citizenship

Situation: Through the advancements in technologies our world has become smaller. The ability to interact with others from the other side of the globe can be done by the push of a button and a computer. However, even with this ability, the tolerance and openness of other cultures is not always present. 4-H has the opportunity to open this tolerance and openness through global citizenship programs such as the State’s 4-H Exchange Program. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s report, Global Citizenship Education – Preparing learners for the challenge of the twenty-first century (2014), global citizenship education, “…acknowledges the role of education in moving beyond the development of knowledge and cognitive skills to build values, soft skills and attitudes among learners that can facilitate international cooperation and promote social transformation”. Methods: Florida 4-H offers two opportunities during the summer related to Global Citizenship Education. 4-Her’s have the option to host an exchange student from another country or travel to another country for their own exchange student experience. Results: Florida 4-H is in its 3rd year of partnering with States’ 4-H Exchange International to offer exchange opportunities. To date Florida 4-H families have hosted over 30 exchange students and two Florida 4-H’ers have traveled abroad. Families have reported that their family gained a new understanding of cultures and their kids are now more accepting of others. Impacts/Conclusion: Studies have shown that importance and meaningful impacts of international exchange programs. Boyd et al. (2001) found that youth who participated in exchange programs become more sensitive to other cultures, more aware of global events, and more involved in community activities than prior to their participation.