Volunteers should consult the COVID-19: FAQs and Resources section for the most up-to-date information regarding Hosting and Sending programs in the 2021-22 cycle.
There are 14 Quality Standards outlined by AFS International, for all AFS organizations to follow. They are:
- AFS is an educational organization, not a travel organization. By providing opportunities for intercultural learning, AFS benefits program participants, schools, and communities and helps to promote global education. Through a variety of structured experiences, AFS strives to achieve its learning objectives. Based on these objectives, the AFS learning experience helps participants and those with whom they come in close contact to acquire useful skills, attitudes and knowledge for coping sensitively and intelligently with the urgent challenges of the global community.
- AFS will evaluate its programs to identify areas for improvement in program content and services.
- All participants, their natural families and host families will be interviewed. Their screening will be fairly conducted in accordance with AFS guidelines. These guidelines are based on experience and research; they emphasize adaptability, suitability, and interest in the goals and purposes of AFS.
- Participants will receive their placement information before their departure for the host country. This information will include materials of a practical nature about the host country.
- AFS is committed to providing suitable placement for qualified applicants, but reserves the right to cancel participation should this be warranted by changes in circumstances related to the applicant, the country of origin or the country of placement.
AFS programs provide intercultural learning opportunities for host family participants as well as for those individuals who will be living with them. Hosting families provide a supportive living environment for a person from another culture who will share their family life and home. Families host on a voluntary basis and are not paid to host.
- To facilitate the adjustment to and the learning from the experience, AFS will provide participants, natural parents, host families and schools with information about the organization and an orientation to the program in which they are participating at different points before, during and after the AFS experience.
- Support from AFS volunteers or staff will be available to participants and host families throughout their experience as needed.
- Natural parents will be informed by AFS in a timely fashion of circumstances noticeably affecting the health or welfare of their son/daughter. In case of emergency or situations affecting the health and welfare of participants, AFS will use its best judgment to act in the best interest of participants.
- AFS is committed to engaging competent carriers for participants’ travel.
- AFS member organizations are not-for-profit. Their fees will be based on reasonable costs for providing the services outlined in the Participation Agreement according to these quality standards. They will include the cost of maintaining the support structure and may contain a contribution to program and participant diversity. The financial terms will be clearly spelled out at the time the Participation Agreement is signed. AFS Intercultural Programs and the AFS member organizations publish reports annually which provide information on the source and use of organizational funds.
- Participation in AFS begins formally with the signing of an AFS Participation Agreement. This agreement is essentially identical for all participants on a given program from any given country except potentially for different fees to different destinations.
- AFS may send participants home early for failure to comply with the terms and conditions of participation as spelled out in the Participation Agreement.
- AFS strives to promote a positive learning experience but cannot guarantee the health and safety of participants, and cannot protect participants from the consequences of a violation of the laws of the host country.
- AFS is a volunteer organization, and its services and support are primarily delivered by volunteers, backed up by professional staff. AFS volunteers give their time and knowledge, because they believe in the AFS mission. Their personal involvement adds a larger dimension to AFS programs, and the interaction between participants and volunteers enriches the intercultural experience of both. AFS is committed to providing appropriate screening, training, support and resources for its volunteers.