What are the effects of international youth exchanges?
Standards for young people in a globalized world are set high. They are becoming more and more complex. Youngsters who supported substantially in the development of their identity come better in the complex diversity of different possibilities of ways of life. Intercultural competences are becoming more and more important, not only concerning employment prospects but also with regard to a successful co-existence in a world of cultural diversity. Here international youth exchanges make an important contribution.
International youth exchanges have got a lasting influence on young people. Even short-time trips of only one to three weeks have a positive and empowering influence on the development of a youngsters personality. They improve social, intercultural and foreign language competences. These are the results of a survey of the long-term effects of extracurricular international meeting activities. The survey was initialized by the Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Jugendbildung (BKJ) e.V. in 2006 and financed by Stiftung Deutsche Jugendmarke.
The most important results:
- Participants in international short-time group meetings can point to lasting effects for their personality and biography even ten years later. The Participants still remember today plenty of situations and events important for them personally in relation with this particular youth exchange.
- Participation in such a meeting fosters the development of personality in relation to one’s self-confidence, trust in your personal abilities, social competences, openness for new experiences, intercultural competences and the forming of one’s personal identity. It also has a positive effect on the employment prospects of young people. Besides, an international youth exchange leads to long lasting contacts among the participants, an improvement of foreign language skills, a positive attitude towards the host country and to travel or residence abroad.