When it comes to AFS Returnees, we want to make sure that they are welcomed home through local-level welcome home events and communications. We hope all returnees will get involved as volunteers and later as host families, sending families, or even donors.
When it comes to engaging returnees as volunteers, we should ensure that we:
- Assign meaningful tasks
- Utilize their technology skills
- Provide opportunities to connect with other students
- Provide individual contact
- Inform them about relevant online training for tasks they are interested in doing and assign them appropriate affiliations.
Welcoming returnees into your team
Welcome Home and Re-entry Orientation:
All AFSers receive a Welcome Home email and a Welcome Home packet upon completion of their program, but you can welcome these students on the local level and get them engaged as volunteers by hosting a Welcome Home event. Welcome Home Events can be big orientations, small casual events, potlucks, picnics or even skype calls.
Returnees in Global Link:
How do I know who is coming home?
Great news! We have a new email affiliation in Global Link that will cc you on the automatic “Welcome Home” emails that go to each student four days after they return to the U.S. In other words, you can get an email notification every time a student comes home!
Simply add the email affiliation “Returnee Welcome Home” to your own Global Link record or to the appropriate volunteer’s Global Link record.
Are there resources to help me plan a Welcome Home Event?
Yes! We have many great resources to help you plan a Welcome Home Event. Check out the Re-entry Orientation that has tons of tips on Welcome Home Event planning, timing, invites and includes a variety of orientation session outlines. Pick and choose the information and session outlines from this guide that will work best for your AFS Team.
Why are Welcome Home Events important?
Welcome Home Events give returnees the opportunity to process their exchange in a supportive environment and to develop coping skills that will help them navigate reverse culture shock. It’s also a great chance for returnees to see that they can continue their intercultural experience by staying connected with AFS on the local level.