We are opening up the opportunity to be a Program Leader on our 2-3 week summer programs to Volunteers in 2024! The Program Leader position is an exciting opportunity to travel with the U.S. group of participants throughout their short summer program and experience the rich content of these programs firsthand! It also comes with important responsibilities. This opportunity varies from standard AFS Chaperone trips, as you will be required to participate in the program rather than solely accompanying the students to their destination. You will join the activities of the program with the students and, likewise, provide assistance as needed to local AFS (or non-AFS partner) staff and volunteers.
A Program Leader's responsibilities start long before the actual trip. Program Leaders initiate contact with participants and their parents to help their preparation for the program (like helping to ensure that they've made domestic travel arrangements) and will also conduct a program webinar for the students. This allows for the students to bond with the Program Leader well before the program begins and, as past experience has shown, helps ensure a meaningful program. It also provides parents with a comfort level that is unique to this program - a program that is often a stepping stone to lengthier AFS programs. Before applying, please consider that you will need to dedicate time for conference calls with your group and the parents, time for emailing updates and responding to student emails, etc.
- Attend training
- Communicate with your participant group
- Provide a pre-departure webinar
- Book accommodations, as needed
- Complete a post-program feedback survey
- Send a post-program feedback survey to your program group
- Provide photos / marketing collateral once your program has concluded.
Because these trips require 100% participation from the Program Leader, we review these applications in a slightly different way than we do those for Chaperone or Belo trip opportunities. We seek to place each Leader with the program that best fits their experience. You are strongly encouraged to provide information that demonstrates your skills leading groups, resolving difficult situations, remaining calm under pressure, etc.
As a Global Prep Program Leader, your time with your group, once you’ve arrived in the host country, is an opportunity for you to experience this type of AFS program and, like the participants, to enjoy the cultural activities and excursions. Your presence with the participants is part of the service that we provide to parents – the peace of mind of having a US-based chaperone accompanying their children while abroad. As a Program Leader, you are technically serving in an on-call capacity during your time in the host country. You must be present with (or available to) the students and host country staff (or, in some cases, only to be nearby and available by phone) when needed. Additionally, the ability to help resolve conflict and help manage crises for individual participants so that rest of group may continue with the program activities may be necessary.
Program Leaders must:
- Be 25 years old as of February 1, 2024;
- Be a registered AFS-USA Volunteer;
- Be involved with a local Chapter/Team and/or at the national level, which may include facilitating orientations, working with students, the liaison role, team/national leadership roles, advisory groups, and/or committees, etc.;
- Be in compliance with AFS-USA standards, policies, and procedures and Department of State regulations, as applicable, will be considered in the selection process;
- Agree to fully comply with all mandatory training sessions;
- Have the ability to assist students with their luggage, if needed, and manage long distance transfers between terminals/gates with short connection times if there are delays;
- Have organizational and problem-solving skills;
- Have experience using conflict resolution skills to mediate difficult situations;
- Be flexible and open to new experiences;
- Have experience as a chaperone or group leader, especially with young teens (preferred);
- Have experience with international travel (preferred); and
- Be willing, and physically able, to keep up with the group in their various activities and excursions. Some activities may be strenuous.
Program Dates and Destinations
|Islamic Culture & History
|July 9 – July 23
|Cultural & Ecological Exploration in the Andes
|July 9 – July 25
|Modern Spanish Language & Culture
|July 9 – July 25
|Wildlife Conservation During the Great Wildebeest Migration
|July 9 – July 26*
|West Africa: Past & Present Perspectives
|July 12 – August 4*
The dates above reflect the date of departure from the US and the date of departure from the host country. *These groups may arrive in the U.S. a day later due to flight routes and the time difference.
Program leaders are expected to arrive in the gateway city the day before the international departure and overnight on the return.
Programs and dates are subject to change based on program needs, airline availability, etc.
You can find more information about these programs on the AFS-USA website here.
FAQs for Volunteer Program Leader Applicants
What costs are covered?
- Domestic flight to gateway city, international travel
- Visas (not passport fees)
- Immunizations if required for visa/entry
- On-program costs when with students - all accommodations, meals (except if on own), travel with students in-country
- International plan for mobile phone – AFS will cover an international travel plan for the number of days you are travelling abroad (most plans have a $10 per day international plan. Confirm your plans with AFS staff before purchasing).
Can I bring a spouse, partner, or friend with me?
This is not permitted as you will be fully immersed in the program with the students.
Can I travel independently during the program?
No. You are expected to be with the group for the program's duration. If there is a day of activities that you do not need to participate in (i.e., language class), then you may have the day as free time. You would coordinate these opportunities with the in-country program staff.
When will final selections be made?
What training will I receive to help me prepare?
Beginning in late March/early April, you will take part in the following trainings:
- Initial training – broad scope of responsibilities
- Additional program specific training, including support training
- Travel webinar – with the students
What happens if a student gets ill or breaks an AFS rule?
You would work with the in-country AFS program staff. In turn, the in-country program staff would work directly with AFS-USA Support staff.
Am I expected to be on call during the evening/overnight?
No. The in-country program staff will have shared the protocol with students for contacting their staff/volunteers in case of emergencies.
What happens if I get ill?
All program leaders are covered by medical insurance that acts as secondary insurance. The in-country program staff would assist and liaise with the AFS-USA support staff.
How will I pay for any additional expenses?
All program leaders can apply for a cash advance that must be reconciled within 30 days of your return. Otherwise, you can submit for reimbursement of expenses incurred after the program ends. We ask that all program leaders bring a credit card that they could use in case of an emergency.
When will I know what the detailed itinerary/program is for the group?
The detailed program schedule will be shared with program leaders in early spring. You can look at the programs on the AFS-USA website here. Please note that the Germany program has already assigned leaders.