Global Ambassadors: Local Organizations Creating Meaningful Experiences for Global Citizens
As the world grows more interconnected, increasing opportunities exist for people from all walks-of-life to travel abroad to study, volunteer or work. Such experiences enable participants to broaden their horizons, hone their language skills and make new, often lifelong, connections. There are also opportunities for teachers in the U.S. to develop future generations of global citizens by encouraging students to move beyond their comfort zones.
In addition to benefiting individuals, creating globally minded citizens benefits our community as a whole. Challenges we face in today’s world, which range from poverty to preserving the environment, are too big for any one nation to tackle alone. A global education and mindset allows us to dismantle stereotypes and collaborate with those from different backgrounds.
Volunteering abroad is the most direct way to create sustainable change in a community. There are a myriad of ways that people can apply their skills to be part of the solution to various problems that affect people across the globe. Doctors can treat patients in rural areas, engineers can build houses for those in need, and educators can teach children who lack solid teachers. Volunteers often live with locals, speak their language, and learn about their culture. This allows volunteers to gain a deep, nuanced understanding of a place, its people, and the unique challenges faced by their community. Donor trips are another way that people can be involved abroad and witness the difference that their generosity makes in the lives of others.
Students with international experience graduate with the language capabilities and cross-cultural communication skills needed in today’s world. Study abroad teaches participants to be self-reliant and understanding, and thus prepares students to be dynamic problem solvers. Learning to be accepting of differences and compassionate towards others are skills that students will need in all aspects of their lives, and will prepare them to work with others to tackle the world’s toughest challenges. Currently, only about 10% of students study abroad before they graduate college. Increased access to study abroad will create more opportunities for students to learn how to develop into global leaders with meaningful, impactful careers.
Educating Future Global Citizens
Students spend more time at school these days than they do at home. Teachers have an ability to influence children, expand their worldviews and show them the possibilities of what exists. Creating global citizens who are prepared for the world we live in is a necessity, and teachers must understand how to make local-to-global connections, and vice versa. School is often the first place that students will see the world as larger than just their family and their community, and grasp the concept that a world of possibilities exist for them.
Global Washington Members Working to Create Global Citizens
- Awamaki: Awamaki helps women’s associations in rural Peru start and run their own businesses selling artisan products. Volunteers teach product development, business and technical skills. They also help measure impact, collect stories and guide tourists to visit the artisan in their communities. Awamaki offers Peruvian women access to global markets and an improved quality of life in order to create sustainable development in their communities.
- Bainbridge Ometepe Sister Island Association (BOSIA): Since 1987, BOSIA has bolstered the relationship between Bainbridge Island and its sister island, Ometepe in Nicaragua. BOSIA promotes friendship and mutual understanding between students on Bainbridge and Ometepe. Together, volunteers from the two islands have constructed schools and water systems, learned each other’s languages and been welcomed into each other’s homes.
- buildOn: buildOn runs after-school youth service programs that mobilize U.S. urban teens to change their communities and, by extension, the world. The organization works with some of the most deserving high schools to help break the cycle of poverty. buildOn students participate in extensive local community service and build schools in some of the world’s poorest countries.
- Construction for Change: Construction for Change’s goal is to build safe, sustainable infrastructure for nonprofits across the world. The organization believes that building infrastructure is building opportunity. Skilled volunteers train and employ local workers and source local materials, allowing for significant investment in local economies.
- Engineers Without Borders Puget Sound Professionals (EWB): EWB partners with developing communities around the world to improve their quality of life. Chapter members use their professional skills to implement environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects. The organization promotes long-term development by teaching local community members how to build and maintain the projects put in place by EWB.
- Global Brigades: Global Brigades is the world’s largest secular international volunteer organization, mobilizing more than 10,000 annual volunteers through 400 university chapters across North America and Europe. University volunteers support on-the-ground teams and community leaders to implement integrated health and economic development solutions in Central America and West Africa, ranging from mobile medicine to microfinance. In 2014, more than 150,000 patients were treated through its global health programs and thousands provided with access to community banking services.
- Global Partnerships: Founded in 1994, Global Partnerships (GP) is a nonprofit impact investor expanding opportunity for people living in poverty. GP pioneers and invests in sustainable solutions that help impoverished people earn a living and improve their lives. Currently, GP’s partners consist of social enterprises, including microfinance institutions and cooperatives focused around four impact areas: health services, green technology, rural livelihoods and microentrepreneurship. GP also offers Impact Journeys for investors to see their impact first-hand. The next Impact Journey is to Ecuador, November 14-22, 2015. For more information on this and future trips, contact Peter Solar.
- Global Visionaries: Global Visionaries’ mission is to educate and empower youth to become active leaders and global citizens. The organization’s cornerstone program is a school-year-long curriculum for high school students that culminates with a cultural immersion experience in Guatemala. The program emphasizes community service and promotes understanding of global interconnectedness.
- Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County: Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County was established in 1986 as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. The group is dedicated to eliminating substandard housing locally and worldwide through constructing, renovating and preserving homes. To date, Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County volunteers and staff have built, renovated or repaired over 300 homes.
- IE3 Global: IE3 Global provides a variety of study abroad, internship, exchange, and research opportunities to students at their partner institutions located throughout the Northwest and beyond. With a wide array of options in over 50 countries, students can choose a program tailored toward their specific academic and professional goals.
- MovingWorlds: org is like a short-term Peace Corps for skilled professionals. Its matching site helps you find the best place to volunteer your skills around the world, anytime, for any length of time. They call it #Experteering and if you can’t find an opportunity you like, its support team will work with you to find a project that’s right for you. Check out this recent feature on KOMO news. MovingWorlds is a membership community, but GlobalWA members get 10% off with code: WeLoveGlobalWA-2015.
- NPH USA: NPH USA supports Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (Spanish for “Our Little Brothers and Sisters”), which is raising more than 3,400 orphaned, abandoned and disadvantaged boys and girls in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. NPH USA offers a unique opportunity to visit its program sites in full-immersion trips, several times a year. Visiting one of its nine NPH homes in Latin America and the Caribbean is an incredible way to witness how NPH empowers children though education, family and healthcare. It is an opportunity to personally connect with the kids, lead activities and games, visit classrooms, participate in work projects and experience the culture firsthand.
- OneWorld Now!: Every young person having access to transformative international education opportunities is the vision of OneWorld Now! The organization is committed to providing critical language skills, leadership training and study abroad opportunities to underserved youth. OneWorld Now! believes all students should have the opportunity participate in community service abroad.
- Orphans to Ambassadors: Orphans to Ambassadors provides disadvantaged and orphaned children the opportunity to rise out of poverty with sustainable education. Experienced volunteers work with select institutions to promote sustainable change and self-sufficiency. The skills, knowledge and abilities that children gain developing their own solutions allows them to become ambassadors of goodwill and sustainability.
- Sister Schools: Sister Schools teaches compassion, service and social responsibility to young children, partnering students in Washington state with children in Ugandan schools and orphanages. Program participants learn about the lives of Ugandan children and then participate in a supply drive to send their sister schools much needed school supplies. Children in Uganda often send letters in reply. Volunteers are welcome to travel with Sister Schools on the annual Supply Distribution Tours in April, and other periodic tours.
- The Krista Foundation: The Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship serves young adults who have chosen to do a year of local or global service, offering volunteer best practices or “service ethics” with an emphasis on transforming a year of service into a life of service leadership. Through a peer-mentoring community, leadership and intercultural training, transition and debriefing services, the Krista Foundation equips young adults to leverage service experiences into a lifelong ethic of service, civic engagement and global understanding.
- The Northwest School: Located in Seattle, the Northwest School provides a curriculum for grades 6-12 that offers an international perspective and fosters independent and creative thinking. The school offers a liberal arts education that emphasizes the importance of understanding topics of international significance and encourages students to think globally.
- Women’s Empowerment Cancer Advocacy Network (WE CAN): WE CAN conducts breast and cervical cancer advocacy, education and outreach conferences in low and middle resource countries. The goal of WE CAN is to connect, train and support leaders of women’s cancer NGO’s. WE CAN is working to support patient advocates to raise awareness and improve access to women’s cancer treatments across the globe.
Global Washington Academic Institutions with Experimental Learning Programs Abroad
- Antioch University Seattle
- Bastyr University
- Community Colleges for International Development (CCID)
- Eastern Washington University
- Highline Community College
- Northwest School
- Pacific Lutheran University
- Seattle Pacific University
- Seattle University
- Shoreline Community College
- South Puget Sound Community College
- University of Puget Sound
- University of Washington Bothell
- University of Washington, School of Law Graduate Program in Sustainable International Development
- University of Washington, Evans School of Public Affairs
- University of Washington, Global Business Center at the Michael G. Foster School of Business
- University of Washington, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
- Washington State University, International Programs
- Featured Organization: Habitat for Humanity Seattle-King County
- Changemaker: Chris Fontana, Chief Executive Officer, Global Visionaries