Team Overview

Welcome to the New Jersey Area Team Website!

Where are we located?

There are three administrative hubs in New Jersey- in the Northern, Central and Southern parts of the state.

Our New Jersey motto:

“It’s not right or wrong (good or bad, better or worse) it’s just different”
(Something to remember when your host family serves “dinner food in the morning” or your AFSer expects dinner in the middle of the day.)

AFS Local & National Scholarships

Contact our Area Team

Contact Us:

AFS New Jersey has volunteers in place to answer your every question.

Sue Fershing | Area Team Chair
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 973-533-1341
Mobile: 973-464-3604

Alison Colaluca | Hosting Coordinator
Email: [email protected]
Mobile: 973-985-3583

New Jersey Regional contacts:

Northern New Jersey
Sue Fershing
[email protected]
Tel: 973 533 1341

Southern New Jersey
Sue Niedrach
[email protected]
Tel: 609 654 8599

Open Volunteer Positions

We value your skills and time. Which task interests you the most?


• Apply to be a Host Family
• Recruit and interview host families
• Guide host families through the application process
• Match host families with hosted student applications
• Lead orientations for host families and hosted students
• Give 1-1 support for host families and hosted students


• Apply to be an AFS high school exchange student
• Recruit and interview U.S. students to go abroad
• Guide students through the application process
• Lead a pre-departure orientations for students and natural parents
• Support natural parents while their child is abroad
• Welcome returnees to register and participate as volunteers

Developing Volunteers

• Recruit and screen new volunteers
• Guide volunteers through the registration process
• Use various resources to train, build knowledge and inform
• Capitalize our volunteers’ skills, interests and experience
• Appreciate our volunteers’ time and contributions

Other Stuff

• Plan social activities
• Plan cultural experiences
• Participate in community events

Get Started

Contact Sue at [email protected] to learn more.

About New Jersey

An Introduction to New Jersey for new AFSers

All students must have the Meningitis (Meningococcal) vaccine before starting school. The AFS insurance does not cover the cost of immunizations and the student is strongly advised to be immunized before arrival in the USA.

Watch this video for arriving students
(Directed and edited by Katja Bye)

Congratulations. You are coming to the coolest State in the USA. Here is why.

New Jersey is one of the Middle Atlantic States. Its northern neighbor is New York. To the west and south it is bordered by Pennsylvania and Delaware, and on the east, the Atlantic Ocean.

Depending on where you live in New Jersey, you may be an hour or two from New York City or Philadelphia, both great places to visit. With the mountains in the north and the beaches on its eastern shore, New Jersey has many scenic areas.

There are usually about 30 AFS students in New Jersey. There will be a mix of boys and girls from many different countries, and you will get to know them well. You will form global friendships that will last a lifetime!

We have orientation weekends in October, January and May, where all New Jersey AFSers get together. In addition, there will be other opportunities to get together.

When you arrive you will be taken by bus to an overnight facility. The next morningyou will receive a brief orientation and meet your family. In the first few days, they will introduce you to your new home and your new community. They understand that you may be a little nervous and find it hard to speak English at first, but they are there to help you. They are very excited about hosting you!

In the first month, we will have a beach or pool party for all the AFSers and their families. This is a good opportunity to exchange phone numbers and email addresses with the other AFSers, and to get to know the AFS volunteers.

Documents your school will want

Make sure you have updated medical transcript when you arrive. 
(Note: The tuberculosis test that American schools require is the Mantoux, not the Tine test.) In addition, NJ high schools have a special requirement: Hepatitis B shots. While it is a series of three shots, you only need the first shot to be admitted. (You can have Shot 2 and Shot 3 later in the year in the USA.) You WILL NOT be admitted without Shot 1.

Bring your most recent grades with you. Most schools allow students to choose some of the subjects they will study, and most offer art and music.

What to bring with you

During the year, you will have many opportunities to share your culture with your host family, your friends and others in the community. You are an ambassador for AFS and your country! We ask you to prepare for this by bringing some of the following items:
– national costume (if you have one) or small dolls in costume
– postcards showing points of interest near where you live
– a book with descriptions of your country
– a flag, with an explanation of its colors and symbols
– recipes for simple foods you can prepare
– small samples of traditional crafts or products from your country
– MOST IMPORTANT: bring a Power Point or similar photo presentation representing you, where you live and things you like to do.

Climate and clothing

New Jersey has cold winters and hot summers. The climate varies depending on which part of the state you live in, but all areas do see at least some snow in the winter. The average temperature in January is 36 degrees F (2.2 degrees C). In the summer, it can be hot and humid; especially in August, when the temperature is often in the mid-80sF (28-30C). You will need warm clothing – sweaters, a winter jacket and boots. You can buy them here or have your family mail these to you, as it doesn’t get cold until November. We suggest you bring half as much as you think you’ll need, as you’ll probably want to see how kids dress here. We have lots of stores that offer good quality clothing at discount prices. Girls should have at least one dress or skirt for special occasions, and boys should bring a pair of good pants and a jacket. Students wear casual clothing to public high schools. Girls often wear pants or jeans to school, and shorts are common for both boys and girls when it is warm. Bring a bathing suit because there will be many opportunities for swimming when you first arrive.

What to expect

The key to a successful year is your ability to fit into a new family. Things will not be exactly the way they are at home. You have to be willing to be flexible. You will have many wonderful opportunities, as well as some challenging experiences. You will discover so much about yourself by trying things you have never done before!

As much as you can, come with an open mind about this experience. Don’t expect your AFS year to be like that of a prior AFSer you have spoken to. Your experience will be unique! And the AFS-NJ volunteers are here to help you with your adjustment to your family, school and community. We hope you will feel at home in New Jersey; not only for this year, but for a lifetime!

NJ Schools and Culture

History and Culture

New Jersey has always been an important link between New York City and Philadelphia, which were the first and second capitals of the nation.

Four major battles during the American Revolution were fought here. While New Jersey is one of the smallest states, it is the ninth largest state in population, with 7 million people. Known as ‘The Garden State’, New Jersey is famous for its farms, which produce wonderful tomatoes, corn, peaches, cranberries and blueberries. New Jersey is also known as a major manufacturing state for chemicals, pharmaceuticals and telecommunications equipment.

With its proximity to New York City, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington, DC, cultural attractions abound. Locally, New Jersey has numerous fine museums and historic sites, and nearly all of the state’s cities and towns offer a variety of opportunities to see theater, dance and music groups.


About 10 percent of New Jersey’s population was born outside the U.S., and an even greater number are second-generation Americans. The largest group is of Italian descent. New Jersey also has a large Spanish speaking population and is the home of many Portuguese, Brazilian, Korean and Vietnamese immigrants. The state also has about one million African-Americans.


Please be aware that smoking is not as common in the US as it is in other countries. In New Jersey, it is illegal to buy cigarettes if you are under 19. Smoking is not permitted in most public places – especially schools. If you are a smoker and have agreed to abstain, we expect you to honor your commitment to AFS and your host family.

Fun Facts

New Jersey has the highest population density in the US, an average 1,030 people per square mile. This is 13 times the national average.

New Jersey has the densest system of highways and railroads in the U.S.

New Jersey has the most diners (a specific kind of restaurant known for large menus and fast service) and is sometimes referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World”.

Picturesque Cape May holds the distinction of being the oldest seashore resort in the US.

Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world, a specific type of sidewalk near a beach.

Atlantic City is where the street names in the game Monopoly came from.

The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, NJ.

The first brewery in America opened in Hoboken, NJ.

Hoboken is the birthplace of singer Frank Sinatra.

The light bulb, phonograph, motion picture projector were invented by Thomas Edison in his laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ.

West Orange, NJ is the home of the first movie studio at the Edison Museum.

The first American Indian (Native American) Reservation was in NJ.

The discovery of the first nearly complete skeleton of a dinosaur was made in Haddonfield, NJ.

“Jersey Tomatoes” are known all over the world as being the best you can buy.

NJ is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production.

NJ is the home to both of New York’s professional football teams, the Giants and the Jets.

NJ is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. (Long considered part of New York, a 1998 United States Supreme Court decision found that most of the island is in New Jersey!)

Several important Revolutionary War battles, led by General George Washington, were fought on NJ soil.

NJ built the first tunnel under a river, the Hudson River, and it is called the Holland Tunnel.

The following celebrities were born in NJ:  Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Queen Latifa, Whitney Houston, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis, Meryl Streep and John Travolta.

Calendar of Events


New Jersey Team