Country and Program Resources: The content provided in this section is critical to a successful program! Click on this link, and select your country. Included is essential information from AFS-USA, but also important content created by the AFS office preparing to host you. These guides will help to prepare you for your cultural exchange and will answer a lot of questions that you will have in the coming months. Please be sure to read through each document thoroughly!
AFS Learning Objectives: Please read and review this document to understand what AFS is expecting of you, and in what ways you will grow and learn while on program.
Liability Insurance: In addition to the travel medical insurance included in your AFS program fee, some AFS partners require participants to obtain liability insurance to protect you in the event of personal injury or property damage. Please be informed that participants applying for the following destinations must purchase liability insurance before arrival: Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Norway, and the Netherlands. If you have been accepted to any of the above AFS programs, please click this link to select your plan(s). The average cost is about $50 USD for 10 months of coverage. While the above programs mandate obtaining this additional insurance before departure, any AFS participant is welcome to purchase this insurance.
Travel and Parent Visits: Please know that our international partners typically schedule two planned arrival dates, usually within a few weeks of each other. This is a normal practice, and you should be prepared to be placed in line for either the first or second planned arrival date. This date will be communicated to you by our staff once we have been notified by our international partner. Additionally, many years of experience have taught AFS that a visit by relatives and friends can negatively impact the participant’s experience. AFS does not encourage visits from family members or friends during the AFS program. You must obtain permission from AFS USA and the AFS international partner before planning any visits. The AFS host country or host family is not required to consent to a visit. Finally, please understand that because of COVID-19 we require your flexibility as travel and program logistics can change quickly. We will keep you updated in case of any changes to your planned program.
Visas: You may be required to obtain a visa for your program, and this process can be complex. Visa requirements differ from country to country and the process for obtaining a visa often requires very precise timing. If a visa is necessary, our staff will support you through the process, but it is ultimately your responsibility to acquire the appropriate visa. If you have any travel plans in the three months leading up to the program, please let us know as this may interrupt the visa application process. Our staff will reach out with instructions once it is time to begin the process of applying for a visa. For questions contact [email protected].
COVID Travel Restrictions/Entry Requirements: We will provide you with any, and all, information possible regarding travel and entry to your host country prior to our departure. You will need to adhere to any, and all, government guidelines and regulations for entry into that country. Failure to comply could result in a change to, or cancellation of, your program. Please also note that entry guidelines, visa requirements, and travel plans could be impacted at any time. We will do our best to be as communicative and transparent as possible but will ask for your flexibility and understanding.
Placement: Please note that the placement process can take quite a long time. All AFS organizations work with volunteers on the ground who identify volunteer host families, and schools. This process can be lengthy, and we ask for your patience. Also, it is important to note that host families can be found anywhere in the country. Most host families are in small towns or rural locations, while others may be in cities. AFS is unable to guarantee a certain type of host family, school placement, or specific region in your host country. While many of our host families do have children, please note that our host families come in all shapes and sizes. They may have no children, young children, or they may have children who no longer live at home. Please be prepared that you may or may not have siblings on your AFS program.
Language Proficiency Testing: Many of our AFS programs include language proficiency testing, so please be sure to follow all instructions from us regarding testing. This is a fantastic opportunity to see how far you have come, and to use your newly honed skills to enhance your portfolio for your future! To learn more about our language proficiency testing, click here!
Academic Credit: Many AFS participants receive academic credit for their time abroad. It’s all about planning ahead and talking to your guidance counselor about what is possible. Our Academic Credit FAQ page will help guide you through the steps you need to take to receive credit.
Payments, Funding, & Scholarships: It’s never too early to start thinking about how you will fund your AFS program. Many AFSers have been able to raise part or all their program fee through a combination of fundraising and scholarships! For a specific payment timeline, you can review AFS-USA’s Payment and Refund Policy here. Full payment is due upon receipt of the invoice prior to departure. Participants will not be able to depart with a remaining balance on their account. Interested in setting up a payment plan? Please contact Participant Finance at [email protected].
Health & Safety: Your health and safety are AFS’ number one priority. As a leader in high school international education, AFS has a long-established, international network of AFS partners, staff, and volunteers who provide support in each country. We have 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency as well as a Situation Response Management Team in place to monitor world events and respond if necessary. Click here to learn more.