It all started in early 2020 with a simple “what if”? The pandemic was in its early stages and the world was on pause. A student was curious if Global Nomads Group was offering any online internships, since we had pioneered virtual education experiences 20 years before. “Not yet,” was the answer, “but that’s a great idea.”
There was an opportunity here amid all the chaos. Global Nomads had always centered youth in its curriculum. What if we handed the keys over to the young people and let them create our educational programming themselves? Out of this question grew what would become the wildly successful Content Creation Lab.
Global Nomads ran an experiment with three eager students from Jordan, Ecuador, and the U.S. (See Isa Pryde’s Youth Ambassador profile for more on her first-hand experience.) With guidance from Global Nomads staff, these students met weekly to create the “Overcoming Bias” Student to World curriculum in use at Global Nomads today.
The three students were so engaged and the materials they produced so compelling that the program definitely needed to expand.
An official pilot program was formed. A cohort of 34 students was organized into four youth-led teams with team-selected topics. The pilot was an intensive semester-long program that taught team leadership, content production, curriculum writing, organizational skills, time management, effective feedback, and conflict resolution, all while youth produced high-quality educational content for Global Nomads programs.
It was an instant success.
On top of the independence and skills they learned, youth reported the profound impact it had on their perspective of the world. One said it “made me look differently at life and humanity.” Another said “it’s all about growing as a person and trying to grow as a community.”
Global Nomads formalized the Content Creation Lab (CCL) program in the fall of 2021. Over 100 students applied for 36 open spots in what would become the current spring 2022 cohort. Four teams, each with two peer leaders, are composed of members from the U.S., Jordan, Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil, Algeria, Zimbabwe, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Philippines, Nigeria, Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Hungary, and India. Together they are working on career-related topics of their choosing: Architecture, Finance, Media, and Medicine/Health Science.
From the beginning the program was designed to be as diverse and inclusive as possible so that students are designing experiences that resonate for a wide variety of youth around the world. The teams consist of a wide range of ages, genders, geographic locations, races, ethnicities, and cultural backgrounds. As with any Global Nomads program, the goal is to foster intercultural dialogue and open young people’s minds to the world outside their own experience. The end products are curricula that are as diverse as the teams that made them.
Unlike more traditional internships where students are handed busywork or told what to do, Content Creation Lab participants are self-directed, learning how to create content and work together in a multinational, multi-cultural environment. Global Nomads provides them with the necessary training and support they need and then steps out of their way as they produce a youth-centered, standards-aligned, rigorous, and highly engaging curriculum.
Consistent with Global Nomads virtual programming, this internship is completely online. Anyone, no matter their physical ability or geographic location, can participate and learn. And there is a stipend for anyone who participates, meaning economic background won’t prevent anyone from joining in.
So far, 74 students from 22 countries have participated in Global Nomads’ CCL programs.
Of the original cohort, 20 students have returned to the program. Of those, nine advanced from team members to team leaders. This shows that not only does this program create great educational content for thousands of students all over the world, but it also trains students to become leaders in our future world.
With the incredible success of the CCL, Global Nomads’ goal is to expand it to a 100-student cohort. We hope the interest and success in this program will galvanize support from our outstanding community of supporters.