An amazing cultural journey for the entire family

Hosting an international student in your home is a great way to learn about a new culture and share your own culture and values. Children often enjoy being cultural ambassadors, introducing their new brother or sister to local customs, traditions and national holidays. Everything from preparing meals to sightseeing are opportunities to discover and appreciate cultural and other differences. We call this the #AFSeffect!
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Welcome adventure

Experience your world through the eyes of a young person from another country

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Welcome change

Prepare your family to become global citizens—ready to connect with people from around the world

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Welcome discovery

Help an international student learn how to live in and enjoy your culture and traditions

It can't be described, it has to be experienced

“There are times in a life that you cannot describe, those you simply have to experience. It’s that feeling we as parents had when someone else’s child called us mom and dad when he called us from across the world to tell us he enrolled in a university or that he has a girlfriend. These things are indescribable, and only those who experience it can understand.”

–Alisa Salopek, AFS host mother from Serbia

Apply to become a host family

What is an AFS host family?

AFS has invited families to welcome international students into their homes since 1947. Long considered a key element in the well being of exchange students, host families provide so much more than shelter and meals. 

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Supported by dedicated volunteers and staff, host families help students navigate their new schools and communities, make friends, learn the language and enjoy their year abroad. Sharing culture and traditions help families bond, creating lifelong friendships. 

How to become an AFS host family

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Learn more and apply

Learn why host families are so important to AFS programs. Our application process is thorough so we can make the best match for your family.

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You've been selected

We take finding families very seriously. Although there’s no “ideal” AFS family—we have plenty of experience finding the “right” families. 

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Get ready to host

Meet the trained volunteers and staff who will support your family and help you learn how to make your AFS experience rewarding and fun. 

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Welcome your AFSer

Experience the AFSeffect with your new family member by sharing your home, your heart and your world as you take your first steps to becoming global. 

AFS Host Family Programs

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AFS High School Program

Duration: 3 to 10+ months, starting at the beginning or the middle of the school year. Students will be 15 –18 years old.

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AFS Short Programs

Duration: 2 –11 weeks, starting throughout the year. Students will be 15–18 years old.

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An all new AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey

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The AFS Host Family Program is now supported by the AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey, built on specific intercultural learning objectives and facilitated by trained staff and volunteers. The Journey includes orientation sessions, facilitated discussions and other learning activities and reflection—all to enable the family to better support their hosted student and explore and build their intercultural awareness and understanding as individual global citizens and as a family.

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How does AFS support host families?

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Experienced local AFS volunteers and staff will prepare your family for the challenges of welcoming a new member from another country.

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24 hour local emergency contact and additional support from the AFS national office is available. AFS students have medical insurance, if health care is necessary. 

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Trained volunteers and staff will support you throughout your hosting program, including meeting with you and your family at least once a month to make sure everything is working out.  

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Your support volunteers will guide your family and student through the AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey activities to help make the entire experience more meaningful and lasting. 

Who are AFS students?

AFS students come from more than 99 countries, and have demonstrated the maturity and motivation to study abroad. AFS students are screened and selected by the AFS Organization in their home country. AFS students are:

Usually between 15-18 years old on arrival

Committed to actively participate in their AFS program

Considered a good student in their home

In good general health

Curious, flexible and open-minded

The AFS host family experience creates a lifetime of memories

Connect with AFS host families around the world