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What is the AFS High School Study Abroad Program?

Would you like to explore a new culture while you make new friends? AFS is here to help you achieve your dreams!

In this program you will travel to a new country, study at High School and live with a Global Family. You can choose the amount of time you would like to experience the exchange: an academic year, semester or trimester. This is a unique adventure where you are going to discover a new culture, learn a new language, become an Active Global Citizen and be part of a Global Community forever. You can choose between 50 + different destinations.

Who can participate in the program?

It is designed for young people from 14 to 18 years. If you are a curious adventurer and want to create change in the world, this is the program for you.

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Create Yourself

Become the person you always wanted to be. Experience the world and develop your superpowers. Build your self-confidence, flexibility and critical thinking. Develop your understanding, knowledge, and practical skills to become a global citizen.

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Create Culture

Going abroad on an AFS program is an immersive experience that will help you develop skills and knowledge that are essential to stand-out in an increasingly connected world.

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Create Connection

The connections you will create during your time abroad will impact your life forever. Make new friends and live with a Global Family. AFSers become lifelong members of the AFS Global Community.

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Create Change

Become a global citizen and change-maker. Have a clear sense of your personal impact and how you can affect your community.  Measure the impact of your actions. Think globally. Become an Active Global Citizen.

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Studying abroad during COVID-19

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. AFS programs will run in countries where health and safety conditions allow, and student visas are possible.

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What will I learn from the program?

The educational content of AFS programs is created by AFS experts in intercultural learning and is based on more than 70 years of experience running exchange programs in more than 60 countries.

AFS developed a Student Learning Journey that covers the exchange experience before, during and after the program. It’s designed to help students gain global skills, practice social impact and develop 21st century competences – we call them AFS superpowers!

AFS support students with structural and facilitated intercultural learning journeys that lead to Global Competence

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Studying abroad can be challenging. We’re here for you.

AFS is renowned for its unparalleled support and guidance before, during, and after the exchange. AFS volunteers and staff are committed and trained to support students and their families throughout the entire AFS experience. AFS has consistent guidelines and standards that apply to all AFS Organizations.

AFS provides a unique-to-AFS online learning platform to connect with peers worldwide and become part of a global community where they begin learning together, preparing and sharing their feelings about going abroad, before traveling on their program.

AFS High School Study Abroad Programs are the only ones that give you the tools to make the most of your exchange program, with training and support specially developed to be with you all along the way.

It's not a year in your life, it's a life in a year.

“AFS offers features unmatched by other programs with an entire portfolio of high-quality preparation orientations, staff and volunteer support, learning programs, credentials, and social impact opportunities.”

–AFS Exchange Student

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AFS is an inclusive organization - Everybody is welcome

AFS embraces diversity at all levels of the organization. From our program participants, to our trained volunteers, to our skilled staff members, we are dedicated to ensuring that the “AFS Family” represents the full spectrum of diversity in the world. We work to provide life-changing international and intercultural learning experiences that include individuals from all backgrounds, including persons with disabilities and those representing all races, nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, genders, dietary lifestyle and more.

We believe that actively appreciating diversity brings people together, and we know that fostering inclusion is essential to fulfilling our mission of creating a more just and peaceful world. Ask your local organization for scholarship options.

Information for parents

AFS is a leading study abroad program for secondary school students, supported and facilitated by trained staff and volunteers. Since 1947, AFS has prepared young people to gain the practical skills and knowledge valued by universities and employers—and needed to succeed in a global world.

Reasons to do an AFS Program

FAQs for Students

AFS provides amazing experiences that will change your life forever!

  • AFS students are not tourists. Most students live with a host family, who along with AFS volunteers and staff will help your transition to your new school and become an active member of  your community. Depending on the program, some students stay in other types of living arrangements—but all are supported by trained AFS volunteers and staff committed to making your experience meaningful and enjoyable as a member of a friendly community.
  • Through the AFS support network, you will become an active member of the host community, whether you go to a local school, volunteer or attend a program focused on a specific interest, like the environment or technology.

Teens who take part in AFS programs today are leaders who go on to great things.

“There’s definitely a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ my AFS experience in my life. I would have never been who I am right now without AFS. It definitely changed my life.”

—Mela Cabrera, AFS student from Paraguay to Japan