After the first international exchange programs started in the first half of the 1900s, little innovation happened.

Exchange programs remained expensive, hindering accessibility and equity, even when scholarships are at times available, technology was hardly used and program pathways historically followed global inequities in a post-colonial environment.

When a few professionals with decades of experience within the exchange industry sat down, they did research around what it is that the younger generations needed, wanted and how they wanted it, they created Shift – Connections for Change .

The goal was to create a program with high-level content based on clear learning objectives and the latest research on how we learn to deal with differences, connecting existing – successful – changemakers (solution-oriented) to aspiring changemakers (peer-learning), shifting narratives of where power and knowledge lies: the existing changemakers have key marginalized identities and mostly come from areas in the world that are seen as ‘less developed’.

The programs works with a 21st century competencies app , and uses interactive video (choose your own next scene) and immersive audio (it’s like you are there yourself!).

Who’s behind this


NOW is a Swiss NGO founded in 2016 by 7 friends who wanted to create new approaches to youth exchanges that empower young people to become protagonists of social change in their own environments.

Global Strategy Consult

GCS is lead by Bert Vercamer, a differencist – consultant – strategist, focusing on global inclusion programs, training on how to deal with human differences and similarities, organizational development (“something’s up in my organization or team”), strategy (“how do we include all voices to map out our future”) and scalable learning and training programs.

Instituto NOW

Instituto NOW is a Brazil-based female queer learning design company that supports organisations to create transformative learning experiences. Instituto NOW dives into the most diverse environments where learning takes place, to design and facilitate powerful and meaningful experiences.


Artevelde Hogeschool

Artevelde Hogeschool is a higher education institution in Ghent (Belgium) with over 14000 students and 1300 faculty and staff, offering a diverse range of bachelor programs, bachelor-after-bachelor programs, postgraduate programs and schoolings.

Makers Valley Partnership

Makers Valley Partnership is based in Johannesburg (South Africa) inner city with a growing presence and activities of many forms of creative entrepreneurism. The evolving community culture builds on versions of the Makers Movement within the 4th Industrial Revolution and focuses on changemaking within a Wellbeing Economy framework.


Purposeful is an Africa-rooted global hub for girls organising and activism. They believe that another world is not only possible, it is already being built right here and now, in the ways that girls are organising with each other, imagining with each other, pushing us all a little further towards liberation.

The Thinkubator

The Thinkubator in the Bronx, NYC (USA) exists to train, educate, and connect Bronx youth to work-based learning experiences, employment, and educational opportunities to partake in the US democracy and to impact change. They seek to prepare diverse, low-income youth from the Bronx to succeed in the workplace and the world.


Toestand is a bilingual organization based in Brussels (Belgium) that strives for an inclusive and caring city where space is accessible to everyone. They transform empty and desolated space into temporary social and cultural meeting spots.

Ulwazi Africa

Ulwazi Africa is the first Black and Women African owned Pan-African Exchange Programme. Their network spreads to communities, institutions and NGOs across the entire continent. Expansive is not the only word that springs to mind, but also Afro-centric development that is as introspective as it is global-facing. The focus at Ulwazi Africa is to create pathways for opportunity and mutual understanding for youth both on the continent and in the diaspora.

Get in touch