Learn about the School
Do some research and see what you can learn about the school online and in Global Link.
AFS Resources Key Considerations: Has this school hosted or sent AFS participants? Who might already have relationships with the school? Who could you partner with as you reach out to the school? A host family, volunteer or returnee could help you to build connections.
- Look up the school in Global Link to find current and former AFSers, both sending and hosted students. Tip: Include an AFSer in your presentation to make the presentation more dynamic.
- Reach out to local volunteers and TDS staff who may have relationships and/or contacts at the school. Tip: Consider partnering with other volunteers as you connect with the school and provide presentations.
- Find additional School Outreach Resources on the Field Hub.
School Resources Key Considerations: What level of support is there at this school for study abroad? Do our competitors have a relationship with this school? What is the school schedule and how should I time my visit? Who are the people at the school who might be helpful contacts?
- Schools have differing policies on students studying abroad. Policies can be state-wide, district-wide or vary by school. Schools may also have relationships with our competitors and/or offer their own programs.
- To learn about the school schedule, visit the school website and search for the calendar, which typically includes quarter/semesters, breaks, testing schedules, assemblies/pep rallies, and other helpful information.
- Find your AFS Champion! Connecting with the right person at a school makes all the difference. Visit the website for a list of names and contact information for key people, including language teachers and school counselors. You may also identify language or international clubs.
Types of Presentations: What to Offer
Tailor your presentation to the needs and timing of the school as well as the audience. Choose from the following basic formats:
- Classroom presentation: Typically 40-90 minutes with 25-35 students. The teacher may offer the entire or a portion of the class-time. You should have a presentation that lasts about 30 minutes, but that can be shortened or lengthened, based on the situation. May include web and projector access. Be sure to have a back-up for last minute changes or technical difficulties.
- Assembly: High school assemblies are a gathering of the entire, or a significant portion of, the student body, usually in a large area, such as the gym or an auditorium. You may be invited to speak for a quick spotlight or be given more time.
- Materials drop-off: When you are unable to book a formal presentation due to timing or a school's openness, consider taking a packet of materials to the counseling office, and have a brief and informal conversation.
- Presentation to a PTA or School Board: Be sure to include information about the benefits of AFS from an adult perspective (less focused on how fun our programs are and more about how it will impact the student's life). See below for instructions on how to address a school board.
- Additional venues: These may include counseling centers (during lunch, after school) and clubs (AFS Club, language clubs, model UN, student leadership). Find out who is the faculty representative for school clubs.
Private school considerations:
- Focus on summer and gap year programs.
- Ask about fairs you could attend to meet with students.
- Attend morning meetings or tabling sessions.
Outreach: Make the Ask
Your best contact at a school could be who you least expect, so don’t feel limited to reaching out to a select few. A good starting point can be language teachers and the counseling office. You may also try the librarian and principal as well as History and English teachers.
Send a personalized email:
- Mention your experience with AFS: ‘I am an AFS Volunteer, Returnee, Parent, etc.'
- Share how AFS has impacted your life: ‘AFS opened my eyes to the world’
- Mention hosted/sending students or volunteers whom the school may be familiar with.
- Describe the many positive attributes of AFS: ‘AFS is a non-profit international organization, with a 70+ year history. We offer programs in over 40 countries. AFS works toward a more just and peaceful world through youth exchange’.
- Show flexibility depending on available time and specific audience. Offer to send a sample presentation, so they know what to expect.
Here are some tips for reaching out via phone or in person:
- Send an email first, and then follow-up with a call.
- If you leave a voicemail, let them know that you will call back in a few days, that may preempt a returned phone call.
- If you go through a receptionist, be sure to introduce yourself and build a relationship with that person so they can help you the next time.
- Bring along materials when meeting in person. Make sure you have arranged the necessary technology (projector, laptop) ahead of time.
- Dress appropriately for the school, keeping professionalism in mind.
Giving the Presentation
There are sample presentations available on the Field Hub School Outreach page that you can personalize. Be sure that every presentation you give, no matter how long or short, includes an intercultural learning component, provides information about both hosting AND sending, is more than just a lecture (include photos, videos, or activities), and gives a call to action. The call to action could be as simple as asking people to go to www.afsusa.org to start their journey.
Things to remember as a presenter:
- The audience doesn't care what you know until they know that you care.
- Engage multiple learning styles; make it interactive and fun. Perhaps start with a fun activity.
- Adapt the presentation for your audience, venue, and time constraints.
- Don’t get too stressed. Even if your presentation isn't perfect, the fact that you are introducing such an amazing opportunity will catch the attention of the students who are really interested in an AFS program.
- Encourage interested students to visit our web page www.afsusa.org to start their journey.
After the Presentation
You aren't quite done when the presentation is done! After the presentation:
- Be sure to thank the teacher or administrator who worked with you to set up the presentation.
- Send any follow up information that was requested of you.
- Submit any sending leads or hosting leads you generated.
Thank you for helping to promote the AFS mission through school presentations!