Since 1947, AFS has prepared young people with practical skills, knowledge and more needed to thrive in a global world. Today we’ve enhanced these 21st Century competencies by introducing new state-of-the-art AFS Learning Journey Curriculums so you can follow along as your student grows. Many universities and employers seek students and young adults who have a sense of the world beyond their own communities—and are comfortable interacting with people from other countries and cultures. Here are some valuable information for parents.

Why should my child go abroad with AFS?

For over 70 years, AFS has an exceptional reputation for providing quality international programs that develop skills essential to succeed in the 21st Century. Research shows that the AFS experience:

  • Builds confidence, broadens perspectives and enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Includes respected intercultural education and language learning components that are valued by universities and employers.
  • Offers fun adventures that makes learning easy and meaningful to teens.
  • Provides lifelong access to a global community of friends, connections and volunteer opportunities.

What types of programs does AFS offer?

AFS offers a variety of programs for students. They can attend a local secondary school in another country as a full-time student during an academic year, semester or trimester. Cultural immersion, language study, volunteer opportunities, and single topic courses (such as investigating environmental issues or studying new technology) are short-term opportunities lasting several weeks up to three months.

Where will my child live?

AFS students (especially in our high school study abroad programs) live with a caring host family. AFS host families are carefully chosen, screened and prepared to welcome AFS students into their homes. Once the application is accepted, local AFS volunteers and staff will identify a community and family that are right for your child. Or, depending on the program and country, some students may live in dormitories with home stays on weekends, others stay in camp-like settings.

How will AFS support my student?

The health, safety and well-being of our students is the number one priority for AFS. AFS volunteers and staff are committed and trained to support students and their families throughout the AFS experience. AFS has consistent guidelines that apply to all AFS Organizations. All AFS Organizations also have a local 24-hour emergency contact number that is always monitored.

Additional FAQs for Parents

The AFS Student Learning Journey & Curriculum covers the AFS experience before, during and after your child’s exchange program. The program has three primary goals to help your child:

  1. Become more comfortable with their new family and school
  2. Learn how to communicate with and make friends with people from different cultures.
  3. Begin developing the knowledge, skills and understanding that young global citizens need to compete, live, study, work, volunteer and become leaders in an increasingly diverse and global world.

The AFS Student Learning Journey & Curriculum is based on the 16 AFS Educational Goals (developed by AFS international experts in intercultural learning) and is facilitated by trained AFS volunteers and staff. It Includes fun and informative orientation sessions in your home and host countries to help students prepare and enjoy their AFS exchange.

The AFS Educational Goals are designed to help students improve in four areas:

Personal values and skills: As a result of their experiences, students learn how to turn difficult situations into valuable opportunities for personal growth. They are challenged to reassess their values, stretch their capacities and practice new life skills while learning more about themselves. Students usually become more confident, improve their creative and critical thinking skills and learn how to solve their own problems.

Interpersonal relationship building: AFS students become fully involved in daily living and working arrangements with a variety of people in the new environment. This may include host families, community residents, educators and other students. These skills are transferable to many other settings during your child’s lifetime. Being part of a family, school and community improves their communication and language skills and teaches young people how to work more effectively in groups and teams.

(Inter)cultural knowledge and sensitivity: The AFS exchange experience deepens students’ insights into their home culture as well as their knowledge of their host (or visiting) cultures—both strengths and weaknesses. Learning how to appreciate other cultures helps students value cultural and other difference, and how differences make our world a stronger more interesting place.

Global issues awareness: Students learn to appreciate and empathize different perspectives on global issues and concerns, and thus appreciate that workable solutions often need to be culturally sensitive to succeed. Our goal is to encourage and empower students to work with others to help build a more peaceful and just world—at home or across the globe.