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Flex Exchange Program at World Learning

July 29, 2013

A smiling woman with glassesKatie Donahue is completing her Graduate Degree this fall. She is earning a Graduate Degree in Human Development and Leadership with a concentration in International Education Administration. She has previously studied abroad during the summer of 2010 in Seville Spain and had a great experience, which convinced her to pursue a master’s degree in International Education Administration. After she earns her degree, Ms. Donahue hopes to work for either a university in a study abroad office or hopefully work for a study abroad organization. She wants to assist other students with disabilities to study abroad.  She believes that with determination and the right people to help them along their journey, they, too, will be able to study abroad!  She is completing her Youth in Development (YiD) internship at World Learning, which works to empower people and strengthen institutions through education, exchange, and development programs. The YiD internship program, launched by the U.S. International Council on Disabilities (USICD) with funding support from Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation (MEAF), brought its first cohort of students with disabilities from across the US to Washington, DC, to complete internships at various international organizations in the area this summer.  In this blog post, Katie shares what she has learned about the Flex Exchange Program at World Learning.

Connect with Katie Donahue via her LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/katiedonahue.

I met with Deanna Werithermier who is the Program Director for the Flex Exchange Program at World Learning. The Flex Exchange program is a high school exchange program for high school student in the Eurasia/Europe Region. Students from Asia also participate in the program. The program is highly competitive. The Flex program partners with a few different nonprofit organizations for housing for the students. The students are able to participate in many different projects related to international development, civic engagement, and human rights. The Flex Program recently conducted a program for students with disabilities from Eurasia and Middle East Region. World Learning was able to participate in various training programs from MIUSA and how to integrate, and accommodate students with disabilities, and learn about able self advocacy for students with disabilities from Eurasia.  The Flex Program staff was able to teach the students with disabilities about self advocacy and demonstrating independence and growth.  Deanna wants to continue including and working with students with disabilities.  This type of program shows the commitment World Learning has to an inclusive global society that enhances the field of international development.

Deanna stated there are many key elements in developing a program like Flex these elements include providing the appropriate host families, interviewing them, inspecting the home, matching them with the right students review guideline and regulations, implementing emergency protocols and procedures, creating activities for the students that are academic and engaging for students as well conducting conflict meditation between the host family and the student. Conflict resolution is an important skill in international exchange. When working in the international education administration field it necessary to be flexible, priority management skills, cross-cultural skills, counseling students, conflict management, and having empathy and understanding of involved.  During my time here at World Learning I have the opportunity meet wonderful people and make professional connections and learn what impact international develop and exchange can make in our global society and in the lives of others.

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