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. It is also when we introduce participants to the concept of becoming an active global citizen and the AFS Learning Objectives which serve as steppingstones on the path toward active global citizenship.
During this phase of orientation, participants express 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 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.
All Study Abroad Participants are required to complete an Online Pre-Departure Orientation, which serves 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).
Local Pre-Departure Orientation
The local PDO whether virtual or in-person, is an opportunity for both students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) to connect with the local volunteer team. 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 students to set personal goals based on the AFS Educational Goals.
The Pre-Departure Orientation Coordinator should connect with all outbound students, and parents, linked to your team to support them with questions, tell them more about AFS and your local team and invite them to your local Pre-Departure Orientation.
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.
Regional Pre-Departure Orientations
Since every student (except short summer program/Global Prep) is required to attend a PDO, including winter departure students, there may be times when a team only has a small number of students going abroad and would like to join with other area teams to collaborate either in-person or virtually to offer a PDO to a group of students regionally. AFS staff can help volunteers connect and organize a Regional PDO in this case. Please click here to read more about this option.
There may also be occasions where a student misses a PDO or is accepted after the orientation event has occurred. In this case you may have to construct a one-on-one PDO. These may be a bit shorter as there is no opportunity for group interaction, and if necessary can be conducted remotely by sending the material to the student in advance and then having a review session via Zoom. But whenever possible, delivering it in person and/or with other outbound students is preferred.
Short Summer Program Students
While students going on short 2-week summer programs are not required to attend a local pre-departure orientation, doing so gives them important intercultural knowledge and connects them and their families with your local team. Please consider extending an invitation to the Global Prep students and families in your team. Click here for a Guide to offering a Short Summer Program PDO Breakout Session.
NH23 PDO Presentations and Materials
Below you will find slides and activities for your Pre-Departure Orientation event. All preparatory information and facilitator notes are found in the first section of the 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.
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
To get a list of NH23 participants use the 7 search parameters shown in the screen shot below.
NOTE: NH23 Students with the following program code should NOT be invited to a local PDO:
VSbaNH23: These are our AFS Global STEM Academy summer programs (formerly known as BP!). These participants will receive their own orientation that is program specific.
Sponsored Program Participants
Pull a list of your SP students using the following codes: YPysNH23, YPcbNH23 see examples below.
NOTE: NH23 Sponsored Programs Students with the following program code should NOT be invited to a local PDO:
IPnsNH23: NSLI-Y Summer participants will receive their own orientation that is program specific.
Log your Orientation and Record Attendance
Please remember to log orientation attendance in Global Link, a shell has been created for your event with the following naming convention 'Area Team Name PDO NH23', please look for this event shell and enter your participant's attendance. Refer to this page for further instructions on how to log attendance in the Activity Module. Thank you!
Note about MyAFS - You can also see students who are interested in studying abroad and where they are in the application process in the Study Abroad Widget. This should not be relied upon to pull lists of students for a PDO. At this time Global Link is more accurate for that purpose.
Past PDO Presentations
We have kept some of the previous version of PDO materials below for those teams that like to refer to them.
- 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)