Each year, thousands of young people study abroad through AFS Partners Offices in 55+ countries. The safety and well-being of our participants is the  number one priority of our 1,000+ staff and 30,000+ volunteers. We closely monitor health and travel recommendations from authorities, and pledge to be nimble and responsive to circumstances as they change.

Ensuring Participant Well-being: AFS's Comprehensive Safety Measures for Exchange Programs

We have several measures in place to ensure the well-being of participants during their programs.

By implementing these measures and providing comprehensive support and resources, AFS strives to create a safe and enriching experience for all participants in their exchange programs.

Here are just some ways AFS works to keep participants safe and healthy:

Before participants leave for their exchange program, they receive thorough pre-departure training and orientation. This includes information about the host country’s culture, customs, safety guidelines, and health precautions. Participants are educated on how to handle different situations and emergencies that may arise during their stay.

AFS Study Abroad Programs

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 planned to begin in all AFS destinations.

Discover AFS study abroad programs
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“From the get go, AFS staff and volunteers have done everything they can to make sure the journey is amazing. Every advice and word of support have been very important for me throughout this experience.”

—Marielis Peña (from Venezuela to Switzerland, 2021)


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.