Parents, guardians, and families – we know you want the world for your teenager. Today, our world is changing faster than ever before as industries globalize and workplaces diversify. Future leaders must have the intercultural skills necessary to communicate, collaborate, innovate, and resolve conflicts across countries. Studying abroad helps students develop the creativity, maturity, independence, curiosity, and adaptability expected of the next generation of leading academics and professionals. Sending your child to study abroad is challenging, but with our guidance and support, your young one will rise to meet these growth opportunities.

Why Study Abroad in High School with AFS?

AFS students are immersed in new communities, languages, customs, values, and ways of thinking.

Research from MIT shows that establishing such deep connections with people from diverse backgrounds improves creativity: “Creativity is all about connecting dots…” and interacting with new people and places provides more cultural reference points and perspectives, “more dots to connect to the ones they already have.” This mental agility boosts problem-solving skills. Students also develop the ability to handle uncertainty, adapt to new environments, and communicate effectively with people from other cultures, even when conflicts arise.

Moreover, reflecting on how cultural backgrounds shape how we think, feel, and act is shown to help clarify a sense of self, building confidence and promoting clear-headed decision-making.

The Impact of an AFS exchange on life and career

In a global research report by AFS International—Creating Global Citizens: The AFS Effect—they explored the impact of AFS Exchange Programs on AFS Alumni. Conducted in 2018-2019, this report is the first wide-ranging, international survey of AFS Alumni based on responses from over 10,500 former AFS participants across 80 countries. This study investigates the effect of studying abroad on global mobility while providing actual examples from our former participants as they strive to become active global citizens and promote the AFS mission.

Download the Report


According to 87% of alumni, their AFS program helped them become active global citizens.

Additionally, 88% of respondents said their exchange helped them connect with people from different backgrounds long after returning home. 83% also indicated that their study abroad experience motivated them to better understand challenges and issues facing the world.


AFS alumni are highly likely to volunteer after their exchange program.

Overall, 60% of AFS alumni report that they volunteer for AFS or for another organization. The most common types of organizations former participants volunteer for include youth, cultural, sport, educational organizations and churches.


AFS helps participants be prepared to work in a global environment.

90% of respondents indicated that their exchange program helped them better communicate and collaborate with people from different cultures and backgrounds, while 84% said AFS helped them develop the ability to adapt in a diverse workplace environment.


AFS alumni demonstrate fast progress in their professional lives.

While the responses came from a relatively young group of alumni (67% are 40 years old or younger), 79% of all respondents have already filled a mid-level or higher position in their respective field of work, with 26% of alumni reaching senior and 20% executive status.

AFS Theory of Change




Provide young people with immersive international or intercultural experiences.


+ Learn


Support them with structured and facilitated intercultural learning journeys that lead to global competence.


+ Practice


Give them real-world social impact and changemaking exposure through training, activities and projects.


= Active Global Citizen

Have the essential global skills they need to live, learn, work and volunteer to contribute to society and change the world.


Health & Safety

Protecting the health, well-being, and safety of our students is our top priority. With over 75 years of experience and an international network of over 50 AFS partner organizations, we have time-tested expertise and layers of support from our local staff and volunteers abroad, as well as our team in the U.S. There’s always someone on-call, 24/7. We also provide secondary medical coverage and monitor world events to ensure we’re ready to handle emergencies.

Learn more

Academic Credit

Before studying abroad, it’s important to ensure that your teenager can stay on track with course credits and graduation requirements for their high school back home. Most of our students return with the official credits they need. But, only your school counselor or other adviser can determine whether classes completed abroad will fulfill requirements of your local school and education system. AFS-USA can provide advice on when and how to engage your home school in the U.S. and host school abroad to help you transfer academic credits.

Learn how to get credit

Scholarships & Fundraising

Every year, we award nearly $4.5 million in scholarships and aid. About half of our students receive some funding. We also offer fundraising tools and tips to help everyone realize their dreams of studying abroad.

Find funds

What's Included in the Program Fee?


***Some of what’s included in the program fee may vary by program. For example, some of our summer programs do not offer host family or school placements. Please refer to the program page or contact our Study Abroad Specialists for details.

Visas & Travel

Your student may be required to obtain a visa to enter the country for their program, and this process can be somewhat complex. The requirements vary from country to country and the application process often entails very precise timing. If a visa is necessary, our Visa Specialists will support you through the process, but it is ultimately your student’s responsibility to acquire their visa. But don’t worry – our Visa Specialists will contact you when it’s time to start applying!