Building International Relationships through 4-H Youth Programs

Exploring the impact of international exchange programs on youth development and global citizenship

Engaging Youth Globally through 4-H Exchange Programs

Imagine traveling to a foreign land, immersing yourself in a new culture, and building lifelong friendships with individuals who share the same passion for youth development. This was the experience of a group of coordinators from the States’ 4-H International Exchange Programs during their Staff Development Tour to Taiwan in October 2018. A delightful encounter with the Taiwan Shenkeng 4-H Club paved the way for a meaningful exchange of knowledge, skills, and cultural insights.

The mission of the Taiwan Shenkeng 4-H Club is not just about engaging youth but empowering them to achieve their fullest potential. Their dedication to youth development is evident in their motto, "to make the best better," and their slogan, "learn by doing." Through interactive activities like a tea ceremony and tofu-making, the Michigan State University Extension coordinators bonded with the Taiwanese youth, showcasing the essence of experiential learning and cross-cultural understanding.

The Reader's Guide

Fostering Global Connections through Youth Engagement

The exchange of ideas and practices between the U.S. coordinators and the Taiwan 4-H club members highlighted the importance of international friendships and collaborations in youth development. As Colin Wang, the IFYE 2018 delegate hosted in Michigan, shared his insights on Taiwan's 4-H program, it became evident that the essence of 4-H transcends geographical boundaries.

Colin emphasized that 4-H in Taiwan originated in an agricultural age but has evolved to encompass various fields beyond farming. The core principle of "Positive Youth Development" guides their activities and projects, aiming to nurture children's competence and character. The energy of 4-H, as Colin described it, lies in integration and resource-sharing, emphasizing the collective growth and impact of the community.

Cultivating Lasting Bonds and Collaborations

While the attempt to make tofu with the Taiwan Shenkeng 4-H Club may not have been a culinary success, the experience forged a strong bond and laid the foundation for future collaborations. The connection with Colin Wang, the coordinator of National 4-H Club Association, R.O.C. (Taiwan), paved the way for an exciting "Visual Letter" art exchange between Michigan and Taiwan in 2020-2021.

This initiative not only fosters creativity and cultural exchange but also underscores the significance of international partnerships in shaping young minds and broadening their perspectives. Mark Cowan Jr., the Wayne County 4-H program coordinator, expressed his enthusiasm for engaging Wayne County youth in this collaborative endeavor, recognizing the value of international exposure in educational contexts.

Empowering Youth Leaders for Global Citizenship

The efforts of organizations like Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development program are instrumental in preparing youth as positive leaders and global citizens. By providing educational resources and experiences that focus on leadership, citizenship, service, and global education, these programs empower young individuals to navigate a diverse and interconnected world.

To delve deeper into the impact of Michigan 4-H youth programs on leadership, citizenship, service, and global education, explore the Impact Report titled "Developing Civically Engaged Leaders." This report showcases the transformative effects of MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H initiatives on individuals and communities, highlighting the ripple effect of youth empowerment.

Exploring Global Educational Opportunities with MSU Extension

For those interested in participating in global educational initiatives or learning more about 4-H programs, Michigan State University Extension offers a plethora of resources and avenues for engagement. From international exchange programs to local county office contacts, there are various opportunities to get involved and contribute to youth development on a global scale.

By fostering meaningful connections, promoting cultural exchange, and nurturing young leaders, organizations like Michigan State University Extension play a pivotal role in shaping the future generation of global citizens. The impact of these collaborative efforts reverberates not only within communities but across borders, creating a world where youth empowerment knows no bounds.

Mohamed Rahat

Hey there, I'm Mohamed Rahat, your go-to writer for all things business and economy. Originally from Mumbai, now rocking it in Navi Mumbai. With a past life at Tata Power Co. Ltd., I'm here to unravel the mysteries of the economic world, one article at a time. Stick around for some mind-bending insights! Connect With Me