AFS has been a leader in providing intercultural learning (ICL) opportunities to young people, families, and others. However, global education, cross-cultural psychology and international relations have rapidly developed in recent decades.

The AFS Intercultural Link Learning Program is a network wide training and assessment program. Designed to help AFS volunteers and staff become better intercultural learning facilitators for AFS students and families, as well as schools and other audiences.

What is Intercultural Learning?

AFS defines intercultural learning (ICL) as the ongoing developmental processes aimed at acquiring intercultural competence. Critical topics include cultural self-awareness, concepts of culture, and awareness of general cultural differences. Other study areas include cultural values and dimensions, communication styles, and cultural adaption. We believe that ICL should include a balance of theory and practical application.

The Program's Key Goals


To increase volunteers and staff knowledge about key intercultural educational theories necessary to lead intercultural encounters.


To improve cabilities to exhibit effective and appropriate behavior and attitudes when working in intercultural environments.


To improve our ability to facilitate intercultural learning opportunities for others: students, families and external audiences.


Content Categories

The curriculum relies on research-based frameworks as well as practical application references. These categories were chosen due to their relevance in the Intercultural field and for the AFS reality and practices:

  1. AFS Educational Approach
  2. Definitions and Concepts of Culture
  3. Cultural Values & Dimensions
  4. Communication Styles
  5. Cultural Adaptation
  6. Culture-Specific Insights
  7. Cognitive and Learning Styles

Intercultural Link Levels

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Introduces Intercultural Learning (ICL) knowledge and skills that are essential to our work in AFS, helping improve how we work together.

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Raises participants’ awareness of how their background, life experiences, languages and communication preferences influence their interaction.

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Participants gain a deeper understanding of how to navigate dimensions and values, and how to critically use frameworks of culture.

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Intercultural problem solving and decision-making, giving and receiving feedback, and the complexity of power and privilege in intercultural settings.

Want more information about the program?

Acess the full training outline with your AFS account.

Learn more

If you are from outside the organization, you can email Sarah Collins at [email protected] for more information.