Knowing some history about the school or district that you are about to reach out to is extremely important in establishing a good relationship. It allows you to speak as an informed person and to use the time you get with the individual to build a relationship and not collect data. To that end, at the 2019 Volunteer Summit, Cynthia Iliff shared with attendees about some ways to research a district’s School Board policies and other data about hosting and study abroad in advance of any communication with the school. Her presentation slides and handout are here to help you understand how to find these policies, so you know what you are working with in every school or district that you plan to contact.
Additionally, in some parts of the country, volunteers have found that the schools in their area are not always highly informed about their rights regarding hosting students with an F1 visa and those with a J1 visa (AFSers). Some schools may be confused or under the impression that if they are an “F1 School” that they cannot host J1 (AFS) students. That is not the case. Any accredited school can accept J1 (AFS) students who are on a cultural exchange for one semester or one year. Only certain schools have pursued the security clearance and have protocols in place to be able to host F1 students who are here for an academic exchange. To find out if a school hosts F1 students, Cynthia also put together a handout to show volunteers how to navigate the Study in the States website and find that information. This is NOT an issue or concern in many areas of the country so do not be alarmed if the F1/J1 information above does not sound familiar or seem applicable.