Important Information for All AFS Participants

During your exchange you’ll have new and different experiences, but some things remain the same. While AFS has many policies and procedure in place to help protect your safety and well being, all travel and adjustment to new surroundings comes with some risk.

While traveling and living in your host community it is important to be aware of your surroundings, your appearance and take care with your belongings. Uncomfortable situations can occur anywhere. It can be difficult to handle a new situation within your home country but, in a culture that is new to you, such a situation can be even more confusing.

It is important to keep in mind that you should not compromise your personal moral values while you are on an AFS program

While it is important for an exchange student to be open-minded, adventuresome, and accepting of the host culture, this does not mean you should ignore what you have learned in your home culture. It is always a good idea to observe the behavior of those around you then follow what your inner voice tells you about what is right and what is wrong.

If you are ever in doubt about whether any behavior you have experienced or observed is appropriate, or have a concern about your safety or that of a fellow participant, please immediately share your concern with your host parents, liaison, AFS staff member or any other trusted adult.

Know the Rules and you'll be Safe

Now you know the rules. You may have always known them, but now you can really get them. They’re like bells that go off in your head when you’re faced with a risky situation. They can’t get you out of every tough spot, but they might keep you from getting into one. We know that you’re smart and strong and ready to take on the world. Go do it, just use your head first. Know the rules. From now on, these are your rules for life in your host country.

Information adapted from “Know the Rules”, The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

THINK ABOUT IT before you go. Remember that if you can avoid situations that put you at risk in the first place, you’re already one step ahead. There is safety in numbers and this rule is not just for little kids, it applies to everyone. We are always safer if we take a friend, host sister, or host brother.