Papers from Moving Beyond Mobility Conference, Berlin 2008
The Transatlantic Orientation Exchange Project
AFS Interkulturelle Begegnungen e.V.
Robin A. Weber
Manager of Intercultural Education and Quality
The Transatlantic Orientation Exchange/Multiplikatorenschulung im transatlantischen Austausch is a collaboration between volunteers and staff in both the U.S. and German AFS organizations. The goal of the project is to increase the level of intercultural learning of German and U.S. secondary education exchange participants and their host families. Germany and the US are amongst the largest country groups in mutual exchanges within the network: every year around 450 American families host a student from Germany and around 100 German families welcome somebody from the USA. The project was conceived due in part to a paradigm shift within AFS in which participants and host family members are now viewed as equal partners in the intercultural learning process. The materials presented in this paper were developed in a dialogue process between the work groups in both countries, who met virtually and in person multiple times over the course of the project. This construct allowed for group members to engage in a parallel process of intercultural learning and discovery as they identified and applied to their own experience the concepts that would be useful to host families and participants in their respective countries.