It is a requirement that all Area Teams that will have hosted students in the coming NH cycle hold a Host Family Orientation (HFO) for the host families in their team. It is not mandatory that every family attend, however we strongly recommend families do attend for a variety of reasons including, connecting with other host families, preparing for the exchange experience and 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 teams should consider that some host parents may still not be comfortable or geographically able to attend an in-person event and in this case a virtual option should be offered also.
Volunteers must continue to follow state, territorial, tribal, and local recommendations and requirements for in-person gatherings.
AFS-USA staff have developed Best Practices for Organizing In-Person Events and Orientations to aid volunteers in their event planning.
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. It is designed for a virtual orientation but can easily be adapted for an in-person event.
Host families and participants are active partners in the intercultural learning experience, who 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.
In addition to the local HFO all Host Families are expected to complete the Online Host Family Orientation (HFO) 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.
2022 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 edit your copy, please download it or save a new copy.) The 2019 Leaders Guide is available for your reference below.
- 2022 Host Family Orientation Presentation
- Participant and Host Family Questionnaire
- The Global Family Tools Platform
- 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
- 2019 Host Family Orientation Leader Guide
- Additional Activities Booklet
Please record your orientation event in Global Link following these instructions. Thank you!