What Does AFS Expect of Participants?

Since you will be considered a member of the family, AFS expects that you participate with the family in an age appropriate way. College students will typically join their families for all major holidays, and for most evening meals as well. Some weekend evenings college students may be out with friends. In these cases, AFS expects you to inform your host family when you’re going out, with whom, and when you’ll be home.

As a member of the family, you will be expected to share in some of the household chores, perhaps helping with trash, cooking, yard work, etc. Your interest and willingness to help will go a long way to a positive host family experience.

What Does AFS Expect of Hosts?

AFS expects that you provide a safe and nurturing environment for the participant, and that you treat him or her as a member of your family. As such, it is expected that you will provide the participant with his or her own bed, and cover basic, everyday expenses incurred by having the participant in your home. In addition, AFS expects you to help the participant plan their transportation to and from school (this can be public transportation, bikes, walking, rides with friends, etc).

Host Families provide for all meals, in some cases this might be cooking a family dinner, and in other cases this means having food supplies on hand should they wish to carry a lunch on campus, or need to prepare dinner on their own. When your family goes out for a meal, it is expected that you cover the cost of your participant’s meal.

More About What Families & Students Can Expect:

Each experience is unique, therefore it is impossible to describe precisely what you can expect as participants and hosts. However, there are ways in which you can obtain general information about what to expect in the coming year.

  • Open the lines of communication before arrival day. Send photos and emails. If you cannot communicate in a common language, exchange as many photos as possible.
  • Consult with others who have participated before you. If you do not know any previous host families or participants, ask your local AFS volunteers to give you the names and contact information of others in your community that would be willing to talk about their experiences. 

Most families find it helpful to read about their participant’s culture, history, and geography ahead of time; and students find it helpful to read about the USA.

What AFS Expects of both Families & Participants:

We expect that all parties will utilize the services available to through the local AFS volunteers and national staff as outlined in this online handbook. This includes, but is not limited to, participating in orientations and seeking advice from your AFS Liaison to ensure that both have the most enriching and enjoyable experience possible.

We also expect you to follow all other guidelines provided in this guide. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns regarding the content of this guide with your local AFS volunteer or AFS staff member, as needed.

Managing the Adjustment Cycle through Orientations

Make sure to check with local AFS volunteers for the specifics regarding orientations. Some of these orientations may be specific to the college students, and in other cases, some of the orientations may be combined with the high school program participants.

At a minimum, student will participate in mandatory Arrival and Post Arrival Orientations, and a Pre-Return or End of Stay Orientation. Some teams also provide for a Mid Stay Orientation. 

Students and Host Families are frequently also invited to a Welcome Picnic. And Host Families may be invited to a HF in-person orientation in addition to the HF Online Orientation. Take advantage of these opportunities to network with others in the community going through a similar experience.