Volunteering at Orientations is a great way to meet students, host families and volunteers in your local Area Team and fulfill an important volunteer task that promotes the AFS Mission.
AFS Orientations are an essential element to the hosting experience for hosted students and host families and to our U.S students preparing to go abroad. Built on the AFS-USA Educational Goals and AFS Learning Journey Curriculum, each orientation covers different elements of the learning journey that complement the stage each participant is at in their experience.
The following information is designed to be helpful to new or re-registering Volunteers who are interested in volunteering with Orientations in a large or small role.
Please read more about the following important orientation topics below:
- The AFS-USA Student Learning Journey (SLJ) provides guidance for how our exchange students can benefit from their AFS experiences on a personal, academic, and professional level in this increasingly interconnected world and become active global citizens.(AFS-USA also offers volunteers a course, called Foundations for Intercultural Learning, that is similar in format to the experience the students have in the SLJ.
- Orientations Overview
- Hosting Orientation Overview
- Sending Orientation Overview
- Calendar of Orientations
How can you get involved?
Complete the required training:
- In order to volunteer directly with students, all volunteers must complete the HSA (Hosting & Support Affiliation Training) and DoS (Department of State Certification) Trainings. If you have not yet completed these, log in to your MyAFS dashboard and click on ‘To Do’ on the left-hand menu and check your Trainings list (see screenshot below).
- Taking these trainings well in advance of an orientation is suggested to prevent a last-minute rush.
Connect with the Orientation Coordinator for your team:
- If you want to contact your local volunteer team to let them know you would like to volunteer at an orientation log in to MyAFS and select ‘Team’ from the left-hand menu, then select ‘Volunteers and Staff’ > ‘Volunteer Leaders’(see below image).
- If there is a volunteer with an orientation coordinator role, contact them by clicking on their profile, then clicking on ‘Send Email’ or giving them a call.
- If there are no volunteers listed with Orientation titles, contact the Area Team Chair to ask who they suggest you reach out to.
Ask for the calendar of orientations for your team:
- Many Area Teams publish a calendar of orientations and events to hand out to host families and students at the beginning of the hosting year, you may be able to find this on a team Facebook page or Team webpage also.
Communicate what role you would like to play at an orientation:
Orientation Volunteer Roles:
- Orientation Coordinator
- Host Family Orientation Coordinator
- Hosting Arrivals Orientation Coordinator
- Post Arrival Orientation Coordinator
- Mid-Stay Orientation Coordinator
- End-of-Stay Coordinator
- Hosting Departure Coordinator
- Sending Pre-departure Orientation Coordinator
- Orientation Volunteer – this role provides general support and assistance to the above listed roles by helping to facilitate and organize the orientation events for their team.
Additional roles that are essential to the smooth running of an orientation event:
- Buy/prep/serve food
- Facilitator/group leader skills with in-person or virtual presentations
- Drive students to/from orientation
- Present info to the students about a specific skill or career or local attraction.
National Virtual Orientation Opportunities
On occasion there is a need to run a national virtual orientation if there are local teams unable to conduct a local event or several students are unable to attend them. Staff run these orientations with the help of volunteers facilitating the content. If you would be interested in participating or have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org