Young people benefit from international exposure

Lindsey Alvey

For the past 42 years, Kentucky 4-H has hosted an international exchange program to broaden young people’s knowledge and views about the world and support global citizenship. The impacts of these experiences reach far beyond cultural understanding, and for many host families, these events have changed their lives for the better.

Research has shown that young people who are exposed to other cultures have an increased cultural awareness and are more tolerant, patient and mature. They also gain improvements in self-expression, self-confidence and critical thinking. These skills prepare young people to be positive, contributing members to their communities well beyond their adolescent years.

Each summer in Kentucky, international youth come for four weeks to experience and learn about the lives of American families. This summer, Kentucky 4-H will host 31 delegates from Japan and South Korea. Former host families have seen firsthand how participating in a cultural exchange can enrich their lives and bring their families closer together.

In addition to delegates visiting the United States, Kentucky 4-Hers have the chance to travel abroad. 4-H has six members traveling to Japan, South Korea and Norway this summer. Additionally, the Kentucky 4-H program began the International Ambassadors Service Learning Program, which allows 26, 4-H’ers from across the state to work toward an educational tour of Peru in 2021.

For more information on how you can become involved with Kentucky 4-H International Programs, contact the McLean County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.

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