Application for the 2024 Virtual Exchange Academy
Over the years, we’ve seen virtual exchange change countless lives by giving young people the opportunity to discover interests and strengths they never knew they had. Building off this progress, we launched a global movement to expand access to this powerful learning tool. As we work towards bringing virtual exchange to every young person around the world, we're empowering education and exchange leaders to drive virtual exchange adoption in their communities and networks by participating in the Virtual Exchange Academy.
The Virtual Exchange Academy is a six-week training that teaches foundational elements of virtual exchange planning and implementation. Participants get a comprehensive introduction from experts through pre-session reading and coursework, and during live sessions that include presentations, small group activities, and more. After the training, graduates will be prepared to adopt this powerful tool for connection and collaboration.
The 2024 Virtual Exchange Academy will take place once a week from January 31 through March 7, 2024, and will include six live sessions via Zoom. Each two-hour session will occur at one of the following times:
- Wednesday, 4-6pm U.S. Eastern Time
- Thursday, 10am-12pm U.S. Eastern Time
Applications are due at 4pm U.S. Eastern Time on Friday, October 20, 2023. Questions can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Following a competitive application process, participants will be placed in a small cohort with peers from around the world. Graduates of the Virtual Exchange Academy will:
- Receive recognition of their participation in the 2024 Virtual Exchange Academy through a digital certificate and badge.
- Have access to the community of practice of Virtual Exchange Academy alumni, including reunions and a LinkedIn group where participants can engage with each other to seek advice and connections as they bring virtual exchange to their communities.
- Have access to further mentorship following their participation in the Virtual Exchange Academy.
- Have access to funding opportunities available only to graduates of the Virtual Exchange Academy.
Eligibility: Education and exchange leaders at both the K-12 and higher education levels are welcome to apply. Prioritization will be given to applicants:
- With little knowledge of or experience with virtual exchange.
- Who oversee a large youth community, such as a school, school district, higher education institution, or nonprofit network.
- From the United States, the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America, though applications from other countries will be considered. If from the United States, applications from states where the Stevens Initiative has low or no reach will be prioritized. These states include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, and South Dakota.
- Serving communities that have been traditionally marginalized from international education, including, but not limited to, Minority Serving Institutions and Title I schools in the United States and public institutions and institutions where English isn’t the primary language of instruction in locations outside the United States
- Interested in increasing virtual exchange opportunities as part of internationalization (incorporating global education) programming at their entire school, district, institution, or organization, not just a single classroom.
Time Commitment and Expectations: Spots in the training are limited, and participants will be selected carefully. The Stevens Initiative expects full and active participation throughout the training. Participants should expect to spend around three and a half hours per week on this training, including the two-hour weekly live session and up to an hour and a half of pre-session preparation. This pre-session preparation will include the review of provided resources, videos, activities, publications, and other materials, and a quiz to measure learning and gather questions for each unit.
The success of this cohort-model training relies on engaged and attentive participants during live sessions and any other group activities. Live sessions emphasize interaction rather than passive learning. Participants are expected to do all pre-session preparation thoroughly and on time and arrive ready to engage in activities and discussions.
The Virtual Exchange Academy is supported by the Bezos Family Foundation.