What is the AFS Student Learning Journey?

On an AFS program, every student does more than just travel — they go on a learning journey. 

Our students experience study abroad, learn global skills, practice social impact and return home to become active global citizens with the essential global skills they need to live, learn, work and volunteer to contribute to society and change the world.

Before, during and after their program, every AFSer benefits from an educational curriculum based on a proven educational methodology that we have developed over 75 years of intercultural learning, and recently updated in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy (CSIS). 

At the end of their learning journey, every student leaves with the “AFS superpowers” that they need to make the world a better place through active global citizenship: adaptability, critical thinking, self-awareness, empathy, communication, valuing differences, open-mindedness, global awareness, and change-making.

Discover AFS Education Goals

What do you experience on the AFS Student Learning Journey?

The AFS Student Learning Journey combines online and in-person learning at every step of your AFS program: before you travel, while you are abroad, and when you return from the program. This way you can connect globally with all exchange students who are on an AFS program at the same time as you, and interact locally in-person with your peers. This approach maximizes the learning outcomes from your AFS experience.

  • Online globally: Once you decide to go on an AFS program, you’ll become part of a global community and meet like-minded and diverse people before you even travel! Each student is enrolled in an online learning program, designed  by AFS in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy (CSIS), that compliments your in-person experience. You’ll meet, connect, and collaborate virtually with AFS peers from all over the world.  
  • In-person locally: Before you travel, you’ll participate in a locally scheduled group orientation session that gives you the  knowledge, coping strategies and skills needed to have a meaningful intercultural experience. This orientation will be a great way to meet other AFSers before they go abroad, and will be led by AFS staff and volunteers.

Get an Advanced Certificate in Global Citizenship for Social Impact

For AFS students wanting to go above and beyond, we offer an Advanced Certificate in Global Citizenship for Social Impact from University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy (CSIS). This is a great way to boost your resume with official recognition from a world renowned university, and put your ideas for changing the world into practice.

Get your certificate

Frequently Asked Questions

No. All the online and in-person program components described here are included in the program price. However, if you would like to take the Advanced Certificate in Global Citizenship for Social Impact program, additional costs may apply.

Explore More AFS Programs


High School Study Abroad Programs

Study at a high school in a new country, during an academic year, semester or trimester. Make new friends, learn a new language, live with a global family, and become an active global citizen! It is all about personal growth, cultural exploration, active global citizenship and belonging.

Find out more

Short Study Abroad Programs

The AFS Academies are highly focussed short-term, theme-based programs for under 18s designed to empower you to change your world, engage in hands-on activities, and learn skills vital to becoming a global citizen of tomorrow. AFS Academies provide the perfect opportunity to explore human rights, STEM, language and culture, and sustainability.

Find out more

Virtual Exchange

AFS virtual exchanges help young people learn about connecting with people across cultures, become part of a global community, and achieve social impact. In addition to having fun, you’ll earn an award-winning AFS Global Competence Certificate or the Advanced Certificate on Global Citizenship for Social Impact issued by AFS and the Center for Social Impact Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania.

Explore our virtual programs