Use International 4-H exchanges to prepare for the global economy

Participating in International 4-H exchanges can benefit youth in preparing them for the global economy.

We are living in a global economy. For general career preparation, there are various local activities to help youth prepare for the global economy such as job shadowing, internships and pre-college programs. Participating in an international educational experience is beneficial for youth to learn more about the various cultures that are in this global economy. Here are some ideas to prepare for the global economy through Michigan 4-H in high school and after high school.

First, youth can prepare for the global economy by participating in the international exchanges provided by Michigan 4-H Youth Development. For example, through the Michigan 4-H International Exchange Programs, youth go to other countries, are exposed to other cultures and receive a rich learning experience. The experience can help prepare them for the global economy.

To learn more about the rich learning experience, please visit the Michigan 4-H International Exchange webpage under the “Opportunities for International Travel” section. Michigan 4-H members from ages 15-19 can participate in the following exchange programs: Poland, Belize, Japan, and the 4-H Ambassadors Program for Argentina, Australia, Norway and Finland. The length of these exchange programs range from three to eight weeks.

After graduating from high school and participating in a 4-H International Exchange, youth can further their international educational experience in college. The experience in itself can prepare and motivate youth to take advantage of the study abroad programs offered in college. There are benefits of participating in study abroad programs. For example, SIT Study Abroad states that some benefits of studying abroad are:

  • Gaining a new perspective on the world
  • Increasing language skills
  • Learning fieldwork methods and ethics
  • Improving, learning and refining decision-making and problem-solving skills
  • Testing your interests
  • Making new contacts and forming lasting connections

What if some students choose not to attend or the opportunities for study abroad programs seem limited after high school? How can they still participate in an international experience? Another opportunity is the International 4-H Youth Exchange (IFYE) for older youth and adults ages 19-30. It is a 3-6 month experience and participants live and work as part of a host family moving to another host family every 3-5 weeks.

Opportunities are available for youth in high school and older youth who would like to participate in an international educational experience. The benefits help youth prepare for higher education and their careers. SIT Study Abroad states that, “Employers are interested in seeing international education experience on resumes and discussing this experience during interviews.” The key for participating in an international educational experience is getting started and getting involved.

Michigan 4-H International Exchange Programs and IFYE have the programs available to help students get started and get involved in international exchanges.

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