The COVID-19 pandemic is calling for an agile response to changed realities. AFS is well-prepared to run study abroad programs with a robust risk management and support system in place, and we are fortunate to have already laid the groundwork for transformative change well before COVID-19.

2020 AFS Study Abroad Programs Start

AFS programs will run in countries where health and safety conditions allow, and student visas are possible. We observe the continually changing situation on a daily basis and are in very close contact with our member organizations.

AFS exchange programs are currently running or about to begin in the following countries, with more destinations regularly added to this list: 

Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan (Asia Kakehashi program only), Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, and the USA (certain states only).

Discover AFS study abroad programs
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How AFS Keeps Our Participants Safe

As a global network of organizations, AFS is actively re-assessing conditions for study abroad programs on a country-by-country basis. The safety and well-being of our participants remain our number one priority. We are closely monitoring health and travel recommendations from authorities, as well as receiving information from our robust, on-the-ground volunteer network. We pledge to be nimble and responsive to circumstances as they change.

Some countries may require a later program start date than originally planned. Moreover, either because of safety restrictions or a lingering economic impact, we may not be able to run our programs in all countries. If planned abroad experiences must change, we will let our participants know as soon as we are able. We will do all we can to offer alternative destinations and programs.

“Even though no one knew what was going to happen in this global pandemic, AFS tried their best to make sure that we all feel safe and supported us all the time when we all felt down. And it always helped. Sometimes their enthusiasm and positivity helped me get through the day.”

—2019 AFS study abroad participant (source: Customer Service Evaluation)

Explore the World with AFS

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Study Abroad

Teens can study abroad with AFS at a high school in a new country, during an academic year, semester or trimester. They will make new friends, learn a new language, live with a global family, and become Active Global Citizens! Key components of these programs are personal growth, cultural exploration, Active Global Citizenship and belonging.  

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Virtual Programs

The AFS Global You Adventurer program is ideal for those who cannot or do not want to travel this year but who are eager to participate in exchange and go on a virtual adventure. Hundreds of students have already participated in this one-of-a-kind online program where students learn about connecting with people across cultures and become part of a global community. 

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AFS Academies

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. It’s easy to see why these programs are attractive to students: they’re more affordable, easier to fit into a school career, and for many parents, they probably seem less risky in these times.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Participant safety and well-being remain our number one priority. As a global network of organizations, AFS is actively re-assessing the conditions on a country-by-country basis, and will continue to do so throughout the duration of the program. We will determine how well AFS can continue to support participants on the program in case of another outbreak, and assess if the program can continue in the best interest of the participants’ safety.

AFS COVID-19 Response So Far

Early in March 2020, some 7,000 students had to end their AFS study abroad programs early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AFS volunteers and staff around the world worked day and night to reunite participants with their families in their home countries and continued to provide all program support and services to those participants who remained under the care of host families before returning home. AFS rapidly reconfigured and deployed a virtual learning platform, based on our AFS Global Competence Certificate, to provide those thousands of young people with ongoing support, community and learning during the crisis.

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Become Part of AFS - Become Part of a Global Community

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Global Ideathon

If you think that intercultural education is more important than ever, and you want to actively engage in increasing our impact and advancing the AFS mission, join the Global Ideathon (September 4-6). We will be exploring what the purpose of AFS means during the pandemic and the world after. 

Explore the Ideathon
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Become a Volunteer

Make a difference in your own neighborhood and across the globe, meet a diverse group of enthusiastic, mission-driven individuals, and use your skills and talents for good by joining our worldwide volunteer network. Contact your local AFS organization for more information.

Join AFS
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Donate to AFS

If you can, please consider a small gift to your local AFS organization or the AFS Covid-19 Response Fund. You can make a difference and help more talented students from all backgrounds build global competence.

Donate now