The Departure Coordinator position was created because of AFS-USA’s move toward through ticket travel for all participants. This role replaces the End-of-Stay Coordinator position. The Departure Coordinator is responsible for:
- Communicating all information regarding departure logistics with the host families and students
- Ensuring all of the Area Team’s hosted students attend a Departure Logistics Webinar coordinated and run in collaboration with the Travel Rep
- Coordinating the logistics of getting students to the airport in collaboration with the Area Team Travel Representative and/or other local volunteers.
Changes to End-of-Stay Orientation
Starting in May/June 2022 Pre-Return Orientation (PRO) and End of Stay Orientation (EOS) will be combined and take place at the time a PRO has happened in the past - 6-8 weeks before departure.
Due to students travelling home via the though ticketing model directly from their communities, there will no longer be a need to gather them together to travel to a gateway. Instead host families will deliver their hosted student(s) to the airport on the day of travel at a specific time/location to meet airport volunteers.
In order to ensure smooth preparation and travel for our participants and their host families we are asking that at least one volunteer in each area team take the role of Departure Coordinator and work in conjunction with the Travel Rep to fulfill the following tasks\. For those teams that host a smaller number of students, the same person may take on both roles
- Work with the Area Team Orientation volunteers to ensure that all the End-of-Stay Orientation (formerly PRO) guidelines are followed, and all related tasks completed in a timely manner.
- Communicate departure info to host parents and students via email and follow up calls if needed.
- Confirm students have received COVID testing guidelines from their home country and have a testing plan in place that will cover them for the entire journey home.
- Provide local guidance/tips around pre-flight COVID testing
- Conduct a Departure Logistics Webinar 10-14 days before the ATs primary departure day.
- Complete the Departure Webinar activity “shell” in Global Link, created by AFS Travel and Logistics Coordination staff, and link all participants to the activity.
- Work with travel rep to compile all student travel through AFS-USA Global reports/My AFS student links. The Travel Rep will be creating a departure schedule and can share via Google Docs or other type of platform. Coordinate with the Travel Representative to ensure that all host families and students are informed of student travel and airport arrival plans.
- Coordinate with the cluster coordinator to ensure YES/FLEX Sponsored Programs students departure plans are being communicated to the students via the SP staff and Cluster Coordinators
- CBYX students should be included in the departure plans of the core students
- Coordinate with the Travel Representative to create the schedule of volunteers who will check in with each student at the airport.
- If needed recruit additional volunteers to assist with this role
For June 2022 departures, if any team is planning an end of program event after the EOS orientation (formerly PRO) such as a team picnic, please note this must take place at least two weekends prior to departure. The weekend before departure needs to be free for host families to plan COVID testing due to varied testing requirements of each country. Tests, as of March 2022, must be administered within 24-72 hours prior to the international departure (depending on the country they are travelling to) for all students. By not having larger gatherings the weekends prior to departure teams will minimize exposure to illness immediately prior to departure, which could prevent on-time travel.
Quality Assurance and Compliance
J-1 Secondary School exchange program sponsors such as AFS are required by federal regulations to convey certain information to participants (host families, and volunteers) and to document evidence of having done so. In addition, AFS orientation materials are based on the AFS Student Learning Journey and have been designed to complement the online learning module that the students complete before, during and after the program. For these and other reasons, it is important that Teams use orientation materials provided by AFS as the basis for their orientation and for Teams to accomplish the following tasks in a timely manner.
- Ensure that the date each student participated in the Departure Webinar are recorded in the relevant Activity, regardless of the timing of the event and whether it was in-person or virtual. Click here for instructions.
Information You Need to Know
Here are the links to the categories and sections in Help & Learning that the volunteer should be familiar with in this role.
Skills/attributes/experiences helpful to volunteers in this role
- Prior experience as Hosting, Orientation or Support Volunteer
- Well organized and detail oriented
- Comfortable with computer-based work and electronic communications such as tracking information in a spreadsheet, sending emails, and texting
- Effective communicator; verbally and in writing
- Able to navigate changing circumstances with patience and good humor
Skills/attributes/experiences volunteers may gain through this role:
- Fun, heart-warming times with AFS Volunteers, participants, host families and staff
- Event planning skills
- “Behind the scenes” knowledge of exchange program management and logistics
- Satisfaction from a job well done
- DoS (Dept. of State) Certification Training (annually)
- HSA (Hosting & Support Affiliation) Training (annually)
- Participation in national or regional conferences or training event (in person or virtual)
- Attend the AFS “Training of Trainers”