AFS-USA is believed to have the widest selection of study abroad programs, with over 120 programs in more than 40 countries worldwide. These include year, semester, summer and two-week Global Prep programs. You can learn more about these programs in the Sending Programs Overview. It would be nearly impossible to memorize the details of all of our programs, so please don’t try! All of the details can be found at www.afsusa.org, and the Study Abroad Specialists in the NY AFS office are experts in these programs and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-AFS-INFO. Your local Volunteer Sending Coordinator is a great resource too for any questions that come up.
Every year, each AFS Team is asked to encourage a certain number of students to study abroad. This is called the Team’s Sending Goal and is based on the Team’s history and potential.
AFS Volunteers can be instrumental in sharing study abroad and scholarship opportunities with people in their communities, particularly by reaching out to their local schools. Volunteers are encouraged to do community and school presentations and to reach out directly to teachers and other school staff to help spread awareness about AFS study abroad and scholarship opportunities. Check out our Promote AFS section to learn more.
Once interested students start their study abroad journey at www.afsusa.org, AFS volunteers provide support and set up Interviews for Sending Students to help answer any questions and to help determine if the individual is a good candidate for an AFS program. Volunteers are also asked to invite interested sending students to local events as a way to welcome them into the AFS community and keep them engaged in our programs.
Students committed to a program are invited to a Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) conducted by local volunteers to help prepare students and their families for the abroad experience. Two or more Pre-Departure Orientations are held each year. Typically one in the winter (Nov-Jan) for students going on winter or spring (SH) programs and one in May-June for students going on summer or fall (NH) programs.
Scholarships and Fundraising
Each year AFS-USA awards nearly $4.5 million in merit-based and need-based scholarships.
AFS volunteers can also help local students finance an AFS program by directing them to our fundraising resources and sharing success stories of other participants. We want to make study abroad a reality for as many students as possible.
In fact, the Faces of America (FoA) Scholarship program provides high-achieving students from low-income families a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study abroad. By partnering with community-based organizations and schools in underrepresented communities, FoA has awarded scholarships to more than 2,120 outstanding teenagers and introduced them to a world of possibilities.
AFS implements three scholarship programs of the U.S. Department of State. Please find an overview of each program and a link to the program websites, where you can learn about eligibility, application timelines, and more, on the AFS-USA website:
- Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad
- National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)
- Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX)
While Students are Abroad
AFS Volunteers and Participant Support staff work with students and natural families while students are on program to help navigate any questions, concerns, safety or adjustment issues. See the Support Students section for more information.
Once a person has completed an AFS program, they become an AFS Returnee. AFS Volunteer Teams are strongly encouraged to host Welcome Home Events and Orientations for returning participants as a way to welcome them back to their AFS-USA family.