Getting Started

Many AFSers are able to get academic credit for the time they spend in school abroad; however, that’s not the case for everyone. Because academic credit is typically a local decision determined by your school district in the U.S., rather than through AFS, the best advice we can give is to begin talking to your school early. Below are some steps to get you started.

Please remember that while AFS supports your efforts, you are entirely responsible for making arrangements to receive academic credit.

  • Meet with your high school counselor and ask whether they will grant you credit for your study abroad. Every school’s policy is different regarding the acceptance of credit for courses taken outside of your state (and country). AFS cannot guarantee that your high school will grant academic credit for the courses you complete while abroad.
  • Create a study plan that outlines which credits must be taken here at home and which credits your high school will accept from abroad. Make sure to go over the plan together with your counselor, and both you and your school should keep a copy. Don’t forget to consider that you could take courses in a different sequence than the typical student and/or you could potentially take online courses before or after your exchange experience. AFS cannot guarantee that you will be provided with any specific courses that your U.S. high school requires. Please plan with your host school accordingly. 
  • Learn more about your Host School. After you’re accepted by AFS and placed with a host family, you’ll be able to learn more about schools in your host country. As your host school depends on where you are placed with a host family, you should be open to various school settings. Once you’re placed, you will be able to learn a bit more about your specific host school.

General FAQ

By going abroad in high school, you can change your world in ways that are both visible to you personally, and visible to your friends, family, teachers, and future peers and colleagues. Many AFSers say that their experience was “transformational.” They gain new maturity and independence, and develop a better understanding of what their passions and long-term goals are. They also share that they’re better prepared than many of their peers for the college application and interview process.

There are practical benefits to going abroad in high school too, like gaining language fluency, developing critical intercultural communication skills, and forming lifelong connections that span the globe and often last a lifetime.

The impact of going abroad is different for everyone. Call our AFS Study Abroad Specialists or visit Ask an AFSer on Facebook to learn more.