The Pre-Departure phase of the Student Learning Journey is designed to increase the participants’ self-awareness both as a cultural being and what that entails, and as an individual with strengths and weaknesses, which may enhance or hinder their adjustment abroad. It is a time for them to reflect on how they deal with challenges at home and how they may do so in a new context abroad.
During this phase of orientation, they share hopes and concerns about their program. AFS volunteers and our orientation materials and activities help them set realistic expectations about the experience by providing them with information, strategies and resources to help them successfully navigate the culture learning and learn cultural adjustment processes. In addition, during this phase they receive detailed information about the “nuts and bolts” of how to prepare to depart, relative to the school, host family and international travel.
Beginning in June 2021, all Study Abroad Participants will be required to complete an Online PDO which will serve as our record of compliance with CSIET and AFS standards regarding outbound student preparation, however it does not replace attendance at a local Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO). More information will be made available to volunteers once the Online PDO module is available.
The local PDO whether virtual or in-person, is for both students and their parent(s)/guardian(s). It is an introduction to AFS and all AFS-related logistical and safety guidelines. It also introduces intercultural learning concepts such as the D.I.V.E. method and encourages both students and their parents to set short-term personal goals based on the AFS Educational Goals.
The orientation should be held preferably before the earliest departure of the students, which usually translate to somewhere from late May-June for Summer participants and December-January for Winter students.
Since every student (not Global Prep) is required to attend a PDO, including winter departure students, you will sometimes have to construct a one-on-one PDO. These may be a bit shorter as there is no opportunity for group interaction, and it is possible to conduct them remotely by sending the material to the student in advance and then just having a phone call review session. But whenever possible, doing it in person is preferred.
While students going on a Global Prep program are not required to attend pre-departure orientation, doing so gives them important intercultural knowledge. Please consider extending an invitation to the Global Prep students and families in your team. Besides, it is another great way to identify potential new volunteers or host families!
National Virtual PDOs
If a student is not able to attend your local PDO as scheduled, or your team is not in a position to offer a virtual or local PDO this cycle, please share the below registrations links with the student/s ASAP and encourage them to attend a National Virtual PDO. These will be facilitated by volunteers, returnees and staff (if you would like to help at one of these orientations click here).
To verify whether a student from your area has registered for one of the below national, virtual PDO’s, please contact Martha at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration deadline Feb 2
Registration deadline Feb 14
Inviting Students to your PDO event
You can retrieve lists of students in need of a Pre-Departure Orientation through the Service Case Search screen. By selecting "Batch Process" first in Global Link you can email the students directly from Global Link. A sample invitation can be found here.
Core Program Participants
Pull the following codes: SMscNH21, YPscNH21 per the below.
(Summer/Global Prep participants do not need to be invited to the PDO as they will participate in a national level PDO.)
Sponsored Program Participants
Pull the following codes: YPnsNH21, YPysNH21, YPcbNH21 per the below. (The NSLI-Y summer program is virtual this year and they should not be invited to attend the PDO.)
You can also see students who are interested in studying abroad and where they are in the application proves in the Study Abroad Widget.
Please click here for information on the NH21 National Virtual PDOs, including registration links that volunteers may share with students who are not in a position to attend a local PDO.
21-22 PDO Presentations
Below you will find presentations for the in-person and virtual format. All preparatory information and facilitator notes are found in the first section of each presentation and in the Notes section of each slide thereafter. Please download a copy of the presentation in order to adapt as needed to suit your needs.
Log your Orientation and Record Attendance
Please remember to log your orientation in Global Link and record your attendance too. Thank you!
Past PDO Presentations
We have kept the previous version of all PDO materials, split into 4 shorter presentations below, for your reference as you adapt the current materials to suit your needs.
Complete slides with notes section for additional support
- The morning session: Combined (parents and students together)
- The early afternoon session: Split (parents only *The 2 early afternoon sessions are going on at the same time, but separately.)
- The early afternoon session: Split (students only * The 2 early afternoon sessions are going on at the same time, but separately.)
- The late afternoon session: Combined (parents and students together again.)
Past Leader Guides
- Leader Guide for Morning Session (Combined)
- Leader Guide for Early Afternoon Session (Parents only)
- Leader Guide for Early Afternoon Session (Students only)
- Leader Guide for Late Afternoon Session (Re-combined)