WeConnect is a global citizenship curriculum, developed by University of Minnesota Extension, that prepares youth to thrive in our culturally diverse world! The program is designed to show youth that they are participants in a global society, inspiring a sense of understanding and confidence in relating and connecting to other people.

For Teachers

This program content aligns with the following Illinois Learning Standards for Middle School-aged youth:

Social Emotional Learning Standards

  • 2A.3a. – Predict others’ feelings and perspective in a variety of situations.
  • 2A.3b. – Analyze how one’s behavior may affect others.
  • 2C.3a – Analyze ways to establish positive relationships with others.
  • 2C.3b – Demonstrate cooperation and teamwork to promote group effectiveness

Key Concepts

  • Communication
  • Cultural Competency

For Youth Grades 5-8, but the curriculum can be adapted for younger and older age groups.

Youth participants will:

  • Develop and refine their international thinking skills by:
    • Being able to shift their frames of reference in cultural contexts
    • Challenging personal assumptions and internalizing more than one worldview
    • Using critical analysis and comparative thought to form opinions about intercultural interactions
    • Practicing reflection, suspension of judgment, tolerance for ambiguity, empathy, and mindfulness
  • Demonstrate their ability to communicate effectively within an intercultural context by:
    • Expressing thoughts and ideas with clarity, purpose, and cultural awareness
    • Using various forms of communication
    • Gaining effective listening skills
    • Recognizing the importance of language
  • Possess a sense of self and exhibit social responsibility by:
    • Driving their own learning in ways that benefit the common good
    • Understanding the impact of individual and collective action
    • Cultivating cross-cultural leadership skills in preparation for success as members of the global workforce and community
    • Articulating how the world is interconnected and how they are a part of it

The curriculum can be implemented in a variety of settings, such as afterschool programs, clubs, or camps, and cultural exchanges. It includes 20 lessons in four sections: exploring, stretching, challenging, and connecting.

Sites implementing the program should provide a minimum of 4 lessons from the curriculum (with at least one from each section) but are encouraged to offer the curriculum at a longer length (or in full) if possible, for the most impactful experience. Lessons are generally 45 minutes to an hour in length.