Why Go Abroad? There are a LOT of reasons. The experience, education, maturity, insight, self-confidence, and friends you will gain are one-in-a-lifetime.
Speak to a knowledgeable local AFS volunteer by clicking on the Volunteers link on any page of this site and look for Sending Coordinator for the current contact information.
Postcards From Abroad
Paris in Japan
12th Grader Paris recently sent us a “postcard” in which she describes her AFS experience in Japan
On Host Families
My favorite way to spend a day in Japan is hanging out with my host mom. She’s absolutely hilarious and I love bonding with her.
I have so many great friends in school, but I really clicked with Ami, a girl from AFS camp. Since we left camp we e-mail each other almost everyday, and we are trying to find a good time to meet again! I love her like a sister.
I can’t get enough of SUKIYAKI. When I first looked at it, I thought it didn’t look so delicious. It’s a mix of veggies and beef…which sounds normal, but it’s the sauce that they are cooked in that makes it absolutely heavenly. It’s a normal request to my host mother when she asks what Id like to eat for dinner!!!
On the AFS experience
Since coming to Japan, I am more of the person I always wanted to be. I was never a shy person, but I’m more outgoing in Japan because my time is limited here and I want to meet as many people as possible. But most of all, my love for the world and its people grows more and more everyday. We really are all the same. And although we are separated by oceans; We love, grieve, cry, and hope in the same “language”. “The Human language”. Emotion. Maybe my biggest transformation is being able to recognize this.
On Exchange Programs
The things you will learn during your exchange can never be taught to you in a classroom setting. Being an exchange student is about understanding. Knowledge may be power, but understanding leads to change…. Just keep an open mind and an open heart, and the rest will come naturally.
“My most important learning experiences were when I was with my AFS friends, Thai friends, and the many other friends I made thanks to my stay in Thailand. I learned how to relate to other people better and to try to understand other’s culture better. I learned that the world is much bigger than I once believed and that the actions of one person can affect the lives of other, despite how far away. I learned that cultural biases and ignorance of the culture of others can lead to events that can negatively affect the lives of many and that each of us should strive to understand and accept each others differences.” AFS Student, USA to Thailand, 2002
“The opportunity, the exposure and the intellectual interest which was stimulated through the AFS experience led me to think that I would like to go into the Foreign Service. I could serve my country in an environment which was always changing and exciting.” James Holmes, U.S. Ambassador to Latvia, USA to Germany, 1960
“(I got) One large backpack full of memories and experiences that I don’t think I would have achieved anywhere else.” AFS Student, Norway to USA, 2005
“After hearing a lot of negative things in the European media, somehow at the beginning, I was a bit scared to come to a Muslim country. I thought may be the people will be very strict, or if I did something bad they may cut my hand… I personally discovered that they are a peace loving people. In Malaysia all the races live in harmony… The reason for this harmony is because the country is under the management of a good Muslim government. It is not true that Muslims like to kill other people just for the sake of killing. It is not true at all.” Ferenc Hosszu, Hungary to Malaysia, 2003
“AFS gave me the opportunity to become a teacher. I wanted to become a teacher and wanted to learn English, so that was the motive for going on the AFS. It was my most memorable experience.” Yasuyo Ishida, Japan to USA, 1962-63
“Being a country of passage of the Mediterranean Sea, it has been influenced by all the populations that have transited through this land. In response to this culture that tries its best to adapt to the new society that is much more materialistic and pragmatic, exists for me a world of mysteries and, sometimes, of contradictions, that I want to discover and understand day by day.
The AFS experience gives me the possibility, thanks to the Institute and the family, to introduce myself directly in the Tunisian way of life and I think that this is the only way to really know and understand another culture.” Marta Amoros, Spain to Tunisia, 2003
“I met my host brother as I got off the bus… before I even got to our car I had spoken all the Russian I knew…everybody was so welcoming! I was a part of the family. My family has learnt a lot about me and New Zealand. Bloody hell! 16 blooming subjects! And I thought having 6 in New Zealand was a bad! I’m proud to say I taught myself Russian! I never had any real shock at school except for the amount of subjects… Russia has make me a better person than before and has opened my eyes to great new horizons and I now have the “travel bug”! All and all it was a great experience. Ta AFS Russia!” Robert Chaveaux, New Zealand to Russia, 2001-2002