I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English Education Report.
It is International Education Week in the United States, a time to think about and celebrate international education and exchange. The special week is a project of the State Department and the Department of Education.
Officials of these agencies say Americans need to learn more about the world outside their own country. They say people everywhere need to understand the similarities and differences among nations, peoples and cultures. They say this is true especially in a world where information and news travel quickly twenty-four hours a day.
Schools and colleges across the country are holding special events this week to support international education. The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is showing pictures that are part of a Study Abroad Photo Contest. It is holding International Education Night, an evening of food, cultural performances and activities from around the world. The university will also host a naturalization ceremony for people becoming American citizens.
The University of Buffalo in the state of New York is also offering events this week. These include speakers, an Anatolian marketplace and programs about ways students can study in a foreign country.
One organization that has worked for years to improve world understanding through exchanges is AFS. This private group began in nineteen fourteen as the American Field Service. Its job was to transport wounded French soldiers during World War One. Today more than fifty countries take part in AFS education exchanges. Nearly eleven thousand students and adults take part in the program each year.
Students in an AFS exchange program must be between fifteen and eighteen years old. They stay in another country for three months, six months or eleven months. They live with a family that has agreed to treat the visitor as a full member.
AFS also has programs for adults to help meet community needs in more than twenty countries. More than three hundred fifty thousand people have taken part in AFS programs through the years.
More information about the group can be found at its Web site, a-f-s dot o-r-g.
This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. Internet users can read and listen to our reports at voaspecialenglish.com. I’m Steve Ember.