Building 21st Century Skills

As someone who’s interested in studying abroad, you’re already at the forefront of learning in the 21st century. As you probably know, to be successful in our interconnected, global world, it doesn’t just involve good test-taking skills. It involves what the experts call the Four C’s: collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

There are a lot of approaches to gaining these skills; some can happen in your classroom and others take adventure, inspiration, and, luckily, a lot of fun.

That’s where the AFS approach comes in. By going abroad, you can launch yourself into mastery of the Four C’s through gaining what is called “ Global Competency.”

Here’s how it works.

Step 1: Investigate the world.

When you study abroad, you learn how to see your surroundings in new ways. If you’re curious and interested, you’ll discover how to understand and get along with all kinds of people. And by living alongside them, you’re likely to find out we’re all more alike than different.

Step 2: Weigh multiple perspectives.

As you listen to other people’s points of view, you begin to understand that yours isn’t the only valuable perspective. Through that understanding, you’ll have the tools to bridge communication gaps between friends and future co-workers in unique and profound ways.

Step 3: Communicate ideas.

Through exploring new foods, music, dance, and different ways to do more with less, you can become a braver, more confident person. You can build on your newly-developed understanding of other people’s perspectives and add the additional skill of communicating what you’re passionate about in an articulate, culturally-appropriate, and insightful way.

Step 4: Take action.

Now, as a globally competent citizen, you’re ready to make an impact on real-world issues. You’ll have had the opportunity to not only explore what your future passions may be, but to prepare yourself to be successful in those endeavors down the road – all the way from your college applications to future job interviews, and everything in between. And maybe most importantly, while mastering those Four C’s, you’ll have gained a new language, family, friends, and culture to call your own.