AFS is known as a leader in international student and teacher exchange. Parents can feel confident knowing that their children are in the care of AFS Volunteers and Staff members, who place the safety and well-being of participants first.
AFS draws on knowledge and expertise gathered during 65 years to offer the highest quality exchange experience possible. Participants and host families are screened, prepared, and supported at every step of their journeys by a network of 40,000 AFS Volunteers and more than 750 AFS Staff.
In order to ensure the safety and well-being of participants, AFS carefully pre-screens host families to make sure they will provide an appropriate and welcoming environment. This process includes written applications and in-home interviews with AFS Volunteers. Participants go through a similar screening process before they are selected for the program.
Once they are accepted, AFS provides participants and host families with the necessary preparation for a successful exchange experience. Trained volunteers provide reassurance and support, answering questions, sharing their expertise with host families and arranging opportunities for participants to speak with AFS Returnees.
AFS Volunteers run additional orientation sessions for participants and host families at different stages of the exchange experience. The first meetings to prepare participants for their programs happen before the participants leaves their home countries. Additional orientation sessions take place upon arrival in the host country, during the exchange program, and even after the participants return home.
With more than 40,000 volunteers and 750 staff members, AFS has built a strong support network on the local, national and international level.
Located in all countries where AFS is present, AFS Volunteers serve as resources within their local communities. They organize activities throughout the AFS experience and are trained to support participants and host families. In addition, each participant and host family has a local liaison, an AFS Volunteer who provides personal support. These volunteers check in regularly and are available to help resolve any problems or issues that arise.
The AFS Network is made up of Partner organizations in many different countries. AFS Staff members in these offices work together to support volunteers and coordinate communication between AFS in the different countries. All AFS Partners share the same core values and quality standards.
AFS International provides worldwide leadership, supporting Partner offices when unexpected events, like natural disasters, occur. The organization works with external agencies to monitor global events and to stay aware of the social and political landscapes in host countries, to enable them to coordinate international risk management efforts. AFS International is also on hand to provide AFS Staff in Partner offices with assistance in complicated situations.
Despite the best precautions, emergencies happen. When they do, participants and host families have access to support 24 hours a day. Experienced staff members and volunteers are on call at all times, and they are trained to deal with situations that require immediate action.
AFS works to prevent emergencies before they occur, through the use of risk management procedures that uncover potential problem areas and allow the opportunity for an early response.
AFS is evaluated every year, and fully complies with the standards set forth by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET) in the United States. AFS is also accredited in many other countries by national entities.