Interviews are a key component in the screening and selection of our host families, sending students and new volunteers. In many cases, the interview is the first direct contact an applicant has with AFS, which provides an opportunity to educate and inform applicants about the variety of AFS program and volunteer opportunities, and to help answer any questions they might have.
U.S. Study Abroad Applicants
To remain in compliance with AFS-International, applicants in line for any of our programs must be interviewed. The means that we are now requiring interviews to be conducted for applicants in line for Year, Semester, Summer, and Global Prep programs. The interview can be conducted virtually or in-person and must have at least one parent or legal guardian present. These interviews typically take around 1 ½ hours to complete. This interview is an opportunity not only for volunteers to assess the applicant, but also for the applicant to ask questions and learn more about AFS and the programs we offer.
The interview is required by the hosting partner, and it is critically important to the application process and an essential part of preparing AFS students for the experience.
The interview creates an opportunity for the volunteer to step in and become a guiding and reassuring voice so that applicants and parents remain committed to having an AFS experience. This is also a critical opportunity to begin to set appropriate expectations with applicants and parents around what an AFS program is really like. Our volunteers have firsthand knowledge- as Returnees, as Liaisons, as Host Families, etc. and it is important to help AFS staff set expectations right away. Volunteers are not expected to have all of the nitty-gritty information on all of the countries, programs, and processes, but their voice of assurance and direct communication with the Study Abroad team will help retrieve the answers/info and provide it to families through direct engagement. This is an important component of the process and enhances the applicant experience tremendously.
All AFS host families need to be vetted with an interview including families who host students for a semester or year as well as families who host a student for a few days. The interview needs to be conducted in-home with all members of the household present and typically takes around 1 hour to complete. If a family member is not home, additional follow-up is required with that individual. Follow up with a host parent or any other adult household member(s) that will be responsible for the care and wellbeing of the exchange student must be conducted in person prior to the departure of the student from their home country in the case of initial placements and prior to the arrival in the home, for moves. For any other household members not present at the interview, follow up may take place over the phone or by video. Any follow up taking place after submission of the interview form must be submitted to staff in an addendum.
AFS interviews every volunteer. A volunteer interview can be conducted either in-person or on the phone. Interviews typically take around 15 -30 minutes to complete. This interview is designed to help the volunteer applicant learn more about the local AFS team and start to think about what tasks to take on to match interests and abilities.