Pre-Arrival Host Family Orientation
It is a requirement that all Area Teams that will have hosted students in the coming cycle hold a Pre-Arrival Host Family Orientation (HFO) for the host families in their team. It is not mandatory that every family attend, however it is mandatory that an orientation is offered and we strongly recommend families do attend for a variety of reasons including,
- Connecting with other host families
- Asking questions
- Preparing for the exchange experience
- Setting expectations
- Connecting with the local team of volunteers
Teams have the option to hold in-person or virtual orientations. An in-person event is preferred for some of the reasons mentioned above, however if an in-person event is not viable for reasons of availability or geography a virtual option can be offered.
When planning your Host Family Orientation locally, we ask that you use the current Host Family Orientation PowerPoint (linked below), adding any Team-specific information as appropriate. This presentation is based in part on the AFS Host Family Intercultural Learning Journey which complements the AFS Student Intercultural Learning Journey.
Host families and participants are active partners in the intercultural learning experience, and are guided by local volunteers throughout the process. For this reason, and to ensure compliance with J-1 visa regulations which determine our orientations, we ask that all Teams use the orientation materials provided by AFS.
AFS-USA staff have developed Best Practices for Organizing In-Person Events and Orientations to aid volunteers in their event planning.
In addition to the local Pre-Arrival HFO all Host Families are expected to complete the Online Host Family Orientation (HFO) modules prior to their student’s departure from their home country, this is sent to each family via email upon confirmation as a host family and the content compliments the local HFO it does not duplicate it.
2023 Pre-Arrival Host Family Orientation Materials
As Teams may wish to share some resources directly with Host Families via email, we are providing related handouts, along with the current Host Family Orientation PowerPoint Presentation, below. (Please note, the PowerPoint Presentation is read or view only. If you would like to make edits, please download it or save a new copy.)
- 2023 Host Family Orientation Presentation
- Participant and Host Family Questionnaire
- Host Family Resources page
- Questions for your Guidance Counselor
- AFS Chain of Communication
- Keys to a Successful Year
- Tips for Adjusting
- AFS Orientations for Students
- Cultural Exploration and Expectation Questions Tool
- HF Handout: Understanding Gratitude Across Cultures
- 2019 Host Family Orientation Leader Guide
- Additional Activities Booklet
- On-boarding New, Move & Replacement Host Families
Consider putting together a Host Family Welcome Packet for your host families to make sure they are well prepared for the experience, aware of all the team events planned for the year and have important contact info handy. Whether electronic or hard copy providing this to host families at the HFO or at Arrivals is recommended. Click here for ideas about what to include in the packet.
Host Family Orientations Throughout the Year
In addition to the Pre-Arrival HFO we encourage Area Teams to gather host families together, check in and revisit some of the concepts covered in the Host Family Learning Journey, throughout the year. Here are resources to run Host Family Orientations at the Post-Arrival, Mid-Year and End-of-Stay points of the year:
Please record your orientation events in Global Link following these instructions. Thank you!