AFS-USA

Provider

AFS-USA (formerly the American Field Service), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is a leader in intercultural learning and offers international exchange programs in more than 40 countries around the world through independent, nonprofit AFS Organizations, each with a network of volunteers, a professionally staffed office, and headed up by a volunteer board.

We've been exchanging students throughout the world for more than 65 years. That's six decades of history and experience in international education with an exemplary record of safety, security, and service to students, parents, and educators.

The AFS Network around the World

Programs from AFS

  • Japan
    Year & Semester: Japan offers an unparalleled opportunity to dive into Japanese culture and live with a host family,...
    13 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
    Community Photos
  • Italy
    Year & Semester: Italians know how to enjoy life, whether through exquisite art, music food, and architecture, or the...
    11 reviews
    Alumni Interviews
    Community Photos
    This program has been rated exceedingly fun by 5+ reviewers.
  • France
    Year & Semester: Adopt France's world-famous culture, from food and architecture to philosophy and painting. With full...
    8 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
    This program has been rated exceedingly fun by 5+ reviewers.
  • Spain
    Semester & Year: Adopt the life of a Spaniard by spending a semester living with a host family and attending a high...
    7 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Argentina
    Year & Semester: Skyrocket you Spanish by spending a semester in one of the southernmost countries in the world. Family...
    5 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Costa Rica
    Summer community service: This four-week program is an exceptional opportunity to get deep into the culture of Costa Rica...
    5 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Switzerland
    Year & Gap: Spend an academic year in Switzerland after high school absorbing Swiss culture and lifestyle by living with...
    4 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Netherlands
    Year: Take on the Dutch lifestyle for a year by living with a host family and attending a local high school. A highlight of...
    4 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Italy
    Summer art: You will arrive in Rome and immediately transfer to Tuscany where you will participate in a 5-day orientation...
    4 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Norway
    Year and Gap: Spend a year in Norway living with a host family and attending a local school. By the end, you will likely...
    3 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Germany
    Year, Semester, Gap: Known for their direct communication, Germans love spirited conversation about politics, economics,...
    3 reviews
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Portugal
    Year & Gap: You will most likely attend a private school. AFS students are usually enrolled in the 4th or 5th year of...
    3 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Belgium
    This program in French-speaking Belgium will allow you to experience a magical country in the heart of Western Europe. Spend...
    3 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • India
    Year: Get a full dose of cultural immersion while studying abroad in India for a full year. This program offers a truly...
    3 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days
  • Thailand
    Summer Homestay: This seven-week summer program is your chance to have a Southeast Asian high school experience without...
    3 reviews
    Community Photos
    A review was left for this program in the last 30 days

Program Reviews

  • Anna
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Wayzata, Minnesota
    University of Minnesota
    9/10
    AFS Switzerland 2014-2015
    12/19/2015

    I was in Switzerland for eleven months, ending in July 2015. I would absolutely recommend the AFS program, the Switzerland chapter is wonderful. My host family truly is a family to me (we're skyping Sunday). I met so many other exchange students, and because Switzerland is a small country, it wasn't difficult to travel inside and outside of the country. Some of my favorite memories include the exchange student parties in the parks, using my days off to explore a new canton or city, and hiking with my Swiss parents or watching movies with my Swiss sister. One experience unique to AFS is the volunteer camps: I and about 30 other exchange students spent a week in the mountains helping Swiss farmers. It was hard work, but after we'd finish, we'd return to the house we stayed in, cook dinner, dance (a lot), tell stories, and play games. I loved being with so many people who understood my experience and immersing myself in the environment, and it brought me closer to a lot of my friends, many of whom I'm still in regular contact with. I wish I could go back to my Swiss family or be on exchange again, I absolutely love traveling and I'm looking to do more of it at every opportunity. If you're thinking about exchange: do it. It won't always be easy, but it's absolutely worth it in the end and you'll experience so much personal growth.

    How could this program be improved?

    Communication between chapters. The West metro here in Minnesota isn't as developed as I'd like, and communication between different segments of AFS would have made things smoother.

    Photos:
    AFS Orientation Camp
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  • Isabel
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Washington, DC
    George Washington University
    10/10
    Amazing!
    12/18/2015

    Just like many other exchange returnees will tell you, this trip was life-changing. Although it was very short, at just two weeks, it was long enough for me to love with China. Each day in this program was packed with different activities to do with the other American students on the trip or the Chinese students. We usually had Chinese classes in the mornings at an international school, and spent the afternoons experiencing cultural activities or interacting with Chinese students. We all stayed with host families. I had an amazing family, and we somehow managed to become very close in the short time that I was there, so much that my host sister and I were crying by the time I left, but I still wouldn't take back this trip for the world!

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  • Sandra
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Colorado
    Other
    10/10
    Awesome Experience
    12/18/2015

    My host family had a total of five kids. I enjoyed the hospitality of my host family when I went to Japan. They had a yoga teacher and they decided to sign me up for a few classes. She spoke English, so asking her questions about how to say something made it a little easier. After getting a close relationship with her, she decided to take me on vacation with her to another island with a few friends of hers. After driving two hours and getting on a boat for half an hour, we arrived at a destination that was just beautiful. When we arrived we got treated to delicious food. We went on the beach very often during the trip which was very fun. Also, we decided to go for a swim at the beach. Additionally, we popped fireworks out on the beach having a great time. We also began to hike up in the mountains and saw a various amount of shooting stars. We were able to get a hold of many stars that night, so we decided to get a blanket and lay down on the floor to find more. It was an experience I will never forget.

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  • Pandre
    Age: 51 or older
    Female
    Colorado
    University of Wisconsin- Madison
    10/10
    AFS Summer Program in Ecuador
    12/17/2015

    I spent an entire summer in Cuenca, Ecuador with American Field Service. It was after my senior year of high school and before I went off to college. While all of my high school friends were enjoying a typical American summer of drive-ins and theme parks, saying teary good-bye to their besties from high school, I was in "The Land of Eternal Springtime", which is what the Cuencans call their beautiful colonial town.

    Cuenca was not nearly as developed back then as it is now, and the town was fascinating. The architecture, the culture, the people....it was all so engaging. AFS did a fantastic job in our pre-orientaion in Miami with thousands of students going to South America for the summer. After our pre-orientation, we flew to Quito and had an in-country orientating for a few days. Quito was also fascinating and Cuenca is similar on a smaller scale.

    Mid-way through the summer, AFS arranged an in-country exchange where the students who lived in the mountains (as we did in Cuenca) traveled and lived on the ocean and vice versa. Our group from Cuenca lived in Guayaquil for a week and the diversity from Cuenca was staggering. The mid-stay exchange gave a wonderful contrast to what we were used to.

    Whilst in Cuenca, AFS arranged activities on almost a weekly basis. Even though it was winter in Cuenca, we still were not in school and the students had a tremendous amount of free time. We were quite autonomous but the weekly or bi-monthly activities kept us in touch with the group.

    The family I stayed with was wonderful and the lessons I learned about myself living there were in valuable. While no one can repeat the individual experience of an AFS aboard program, we all share the basic outcomes of knowing ourselves better, having our mettle tested, and growing up in ways that our high school friends back home will never have. So typical of this is that I could not relate to my high school best friends after being gone for a mere 2 1/2 months. Even to this day, many years later, I remain iconoclast in relation to the old high school gang. In my adulthood I have not been afraid to move to a different city, take a distant job, re-invent myself. By contrast, all of my high school friends still live in the same town. While there is nothing wrong with that, it just isn't me.

    What you learn from an AFS experience is that no one can take you away from yourself and you are able to live life on your own terms. That is how l have lived my life since living abroad for the first time when I was 18 with AFS. Since then I have lived aboard again, have traveled extensively both internationally and domestically, and have lived in some of the most exciting cities in the US. I run my won successful business and know that I am not afraid of anyone or anything. That is how I have raised my family and live my life. If I never would have gone abroad with AFS at 18, I perish the thought that I would still be livng in the same small town in which I grew up. AFS gave me the opportunity to expand my own mind, spirit, and self, and the rest of my life was built on that experience. I will always be grateful for AFS for accepting me into their program.

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  • Jessica
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    The Hague, The Netherlands
    Other
    6/10
    AFS Netherlands
    12/17/2015

    I almost went abroad with AFS but, I find the programs are too expensive and a little shaky. For the most part the host families are solid but, I have friends who have lived with host families who after a few months wanted them to leave and had a history of doing this. The rules are slightly different than with other programs and it sort of feels like an exchange machine trying to spit out as many students as it can. Overall it is a solid program but, I would recommend going with a different organization.

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