As the Team Pre-Departure Orientation Coordinator, you ensure the delivery of the Pre-Departure orientation for your team’s students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) prior to their departure on program. You oversee the planning, training, staffing and delivery of the event and work with a team of volunteers to deliver a quality orientation program whether in person or virtually.
Teams are empowered to organize the orientation in the way that works best for them. For the Pre-Departure Orientation it will be necessary to organize 2-3 volunteers to deliver the orientation material and in addition to organize some returnees and sending parents to serve on panels and in an advisory role for the attendees. The Pre-Departure Orientation Coordinator should work closely with the team’s Sending Coordinator to identify which students should be invited to the event. Your team’s Orientation Coordinator and your RFS (Regional Field Specialist) are also good resources as you plan the event.
- Ensure that at least one orientation local orientation event is made available to all summer, semester and year program students and their parent(s)/guardian(s) in the Team. (Global Prep students do not have to attend but can be invited.)
- Provide any student who is not able to attend the local PDO, and their parents, within information about and registration links to the National Virtual PDO.
- Develop and implement a plan to deliver the PDO materials, ensuring that a review of the Student Learning Journey is completed as part of the preparation to understand the basis of the material. Please note, the Orientation Coordinator is not necessarily responsible for facilitating or running the orientations, but rather finding individuals who will do so.
- Review Best Practices for Organizing In-Person Orientations and Events
- Determine time, place, events, and responsible persons for each orientation.
- Make sure the date of the orientation is set in plenty of time to add to the annual master calendar of all orientation activities taking place at the team and local level and distribute to AFS-USA staff and appropriate volunteers.
- Plan for materials and supplies needed and communicate with Orientation Coordinator/Treasurer to share or purchase any supplies needed.
- Oversee the timely distribution of all orientation materials.
- Ensure that all key orientation providers (facilitators and panelists) receive training: a) an initial training for new facilitators and b) a refresher session for previous facilitators. If the orientation will be delivered virtually, plan for a practice run-through prior to the event.
Tasks: Quality Assurance and Compliance
AFS USA and CSIET quality standards mandate that we provide certain information to participants, (host families, and volunteers) and that we 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 Pre-Departure Orientation is recorded in the relevant Activity, regardless of whether it was in-person or virtual. Click here for instructions. (AFS must provide this information to the US Department of State upon their request and during the Bi-Annual Management Review.)
- Ensure that participants have the opportunity to complete the Pre-Departure Orientation Evaluation (Results will be shared with your Team Leadership and reviewed by staff and volunteer members of the Orientation Advisory group in an effort to continuously improve the quality of the Orientations for AFS-USA.)
Information You Need to Know
Here are links to the sections in the Help & Learning Center with the information you need to know in this role:
Skills/attributes/experiences helpful to volunteers in this role
- Prior experience as a sending or orientation volunteer, sending parent a plus!
- 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, sending students/families and staff
- Event planning skills
- “Behind the scenes” knowledge of exchange program management and logistics
- Satisfaction from a job well done
- Student Safety Modules
- Foundation of Intercultural Learning and Global Competence
- AFS considers this essential to preparing for all Orientations. Covering topics similar to the Student Learning Journey - the course taken by students before and during the program - this course will give volunteers valuable information and tools to better understand and facilitate the intercultural experience of our AFS students during orientations.