Maintaining regular contact throughout the year with our participants and their host families, whether in person, by phone, or at group meetings, is the key to building trusting relationships, assisting them in learning about each other, and resolving issues and concerns early on. This contact must be made separately so that the participant can share their concerns or questions without fear of offending the host family and vice-versa.
Both the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) and the U.S. Department of State (DoS) require that organizations document and maintain at least monthly contact with every participant and host family. (Click here for the related CSIET standards and DoS regulations.) The DoS also has requirements around in-home visits, and AFS has other requirements around schools contacts. The details pertaining to these contact and visit requirements are described below, as well as information on how to document these contacts and visits.