What are the typical departure and arrival dates for Hosted Participants coming to the U.S?
The exact arrival and departure dates vary from year to year, but you can expect the NH cycle participants (non-Sponsored Programs) to arrive during the Wednesday/Thursday of the first or 2nd week of August.
Sponsored Programs participants (i.e. YES, CB, FLEX) often fly to Washington, DC, where they spend a few days in orientation before flying to their host communities. See below for more information about Sponsored Programs Arrivals.
Semester participants typically depart on the second week of January.
For NH20 year program participants and the winter semester participants, departure will be scheduled within two weeks of each participant’s school end date.
Where can I find travel information on our participants?
Our AFS Sending Partners are responsible for booking the international arrival and return information for their students. Once the travel has been confirmed, our Partners will put the travel into Global Link, which you can view via MyAFS.
What happens if there are travel delays?
Our Travel Department closely monitors our AFS students traveling, whether they are arriving into or departing the US. There will always be an AFS volunteer or staff member either on-site or on-call to help in case of a travel emergency. Participants who are traveling have also been given emergency contact numbers they can use in case they have any questions.
Who helps our participants at transit/connection airports?
In some cases, AFS volunteers will be on-site to support with transit. For other airports, participants can transit behind security, so AFS volunteers and/or staff will be on-call should participants experience missed connections or flight cancellations.
Do participants have to pay for luggage?
International flights typically include an allowance of at least one checked bag. However, every airline operates differently so it is important for participants to be aware of their luggage allowance for their international flight. This information can be found on airline websites or by contacting the airlines directly.
In the case of participants traveling domestically within the US, there is no luggage included on their domestic ticket. (This includes tickets purchased for Early Return and Program Release students.) Participants should be prepared to pay any fees for luggage on their domestic flight. Again, each airline is different, so students should look up the luggage fees on the airline website before the day of travel. AFS USA sends a detailed luggage allowance letter to our partners before students depart so they are aware they are responsible for these fees upon arrival and departure.
Can participants extend their program or leave later than originally planned?
Program extensions are granted for Fall Semester participants who decide they want to "extend" their program to a Year Program. Please speak with your Field Staff on how to begin this process.
For NH20, participants are discouraged from requesting to stay past their program end date (e.g. to travel around the US, visit natural family, etc.). This request is called a Program Release.