Explore our new, global research report, Creating Global Citizens: The AFS Effect, focusing on the Impact of an AFS exchange on life and career. This report is the first large-scale, global survey of the AFS alumni community based on responses from over 10,500 former AFS participants across 80 countries. The collection period was between November 2018 and March 2019 via an online survey.

This study explores the effect an AFS experience can have on the lives and careers of our alumni while investigating the impact of secondary school mobility globally. It also includes real-life examples from our former participants of changes alumni can bring to their local communities thereby furthering the AFS mission worldwide.

Executive Summary


According to 87% of alumni, their AFS program helped them become active global citizens.

 Additionally, 88% of respondents said their exchange helped them connect with people from different backgrounds long after returning home. 83% also indicated that their study abroad experience motivated them to better understand challenges and issues facing the world.


AFS alumni are highly likely to volunteer after their exchange program.

Overall, 60% of AFS alumni report that they volunteer for AFS or for another organization. The most common types of organizations former participants volunteer for include youth, cultural, sport, educational organizations and churches.


AFS helps participants be prepared to work in a global environment.

90% of respondents indicated that their exchange program helped them better communicate and collaborate with people from different cultures and backgrounds, while 84% said AFS helped them develop the ability to adapt in a diverse workplace environment.


AFS alumni demonstrate fast progress in their professional lives.

While the responses came from a relatively young group of alumni (67% are 40 years old or younger), 79% of all respondents have already filled a mid-level or higher position in their respective field of work, with 26% of alumni reaching senior and 20% executive status.

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AFS Now: Insights for Active Global Citizens

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Media Contact:

Milena Miladinovic
Communications & External Affairs, AFS Intercultural Programs

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“I am a world citizen, passionate about different cultures with the AFS mission at heart. Since graduating I worked with NGOs, governments and intergovernmental organizations helping them to achieve their vision of youth development in more than four countries.”

Rita Saias
Portugal to Norway

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“AFS was my gateway to the world. As a teenager I had rarely left my hometown. Motivated by my AFS transformation I pursued a degree that would show me more of the world. After living in Portugal, South Africa and the Netherlands, I am now living in Tanzania. Thanks to AFS, I could build a career in international development cooperation.”

Felix Braeckman
Belgium to Bolivia

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“I am a young journalist, educationalist and motivational speaker from Kwale, Kenya. Alumnus of the YES Program. I am passionate about servant leadership and change-making. I have unending enthusiasm about inclusive and participatory learning and education reforms in the school system.”

Amani Nuri
Kenya to USA

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“The year I won my scholarship to study for a year in South Africa, my life changed. I decided to study and work in the Netherlands to pursue an LLB and an honors degree there. I just graduated in July 2019. Currently, I am working on a government project in Indonesia.”

Elena Carrieri
Italy to South Africa