4-H goes global
What Has ANR Done?The California 4-H Youth Development Program offers an international exchange with Australia, Finland and Japan through partnerships with youth development programs in those countries. California 4-H members may host an exchange student or live in another country for 1 month. The goal is to give California 4-H members and leaders a firsthand experience with a different culture. Philosopher John Dewey said, “Global citizenship should be grounded in personal experience.” 4-H members and leaders host students during odd-numbered years and live with host families in another country during even-numbered years. Participants share customs and heritage, learn to value diversity and show respect and understanding for others, enhance their communication skills, and improve their own self-understanding. California 4-H hosts between 25 and 40 Japanese students annually. Australia and Finland were recently added. In 2008, 19 4-H members and three 4-H leaders will visit Australia, Finland and Japan.
Opening up the WorldSince its start in 1973, the exchange with Japan has broadened the thinking of thousands of students. In 2007, 4-H members and leaders who hosted Japanese students reported they learned new things about Japan (88%) and new things about themselves (85%). Participants identified growth in empathy and concern for others, accepting differences, patience, learning to communicate, cooperating with others, and building self confidence. In surveys, 85% of California host families agree strongly and 15% agree somewhat that they benefited from the exchange.
Clientele TestimonialA parent: “This was a wonderful experience for us. You grow in ways you didn’t know were even possible. Opening up your heart to a new person (from another culture), makes everyone stretch, grow and increase love and happiness.”
A youth: “The exchange has opened my eyes to a whole new world that until this point has not touched my life. Life-enriching experiences like this one have the ability of reshaping me into someone more aware of the world around me.”
Another youth: “I think this experience has made me more patient and helped me to try my hardest to explain if someone doesn’t understand.”
Supporting Unit:4-H Youth Development Program
Pat English, California State 4-H Youth Development Program International Exchange Coordinator
(530) 754-8520 or firstname.lastname@example.org