AFS-USA
94% Rating
(112 Reviews)

AFS-USA

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.

Most Recent Program Reviews

Myiah
Female
20 years old
Washington, District of Columbia

AFS: Better than the rest

10/10

When abroad with AFS on the CBYX Department of state scholarship for the 2014-2016 school year, my experience was an A++. AFS matters. We had the opportunity to meet other exchangers, travel around the country, had a support network and attended camps throughout the year. AFS helps students become immersed in their exchange communu=itys while providing paid trips, 24/7 on phone emergency contact, and a mentor who is a part of the respective country of study. Better hope your place in the Leipzig chapter, they're the coolest! I meet Step In, Flag and other exchangers with other programs. No one is happier than an AFSer!

How can this program be improved?

AFS can do a better job of screening students to host families. Its the families which hand pick the students they wish to host. If a student doesn't like their placement, they can always change! AFS is flexable.

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Lola
Female
17 years old
Portland, OR

A Memorable Summer in Japan

10/10

I was a student living in Fukuoka on the AFS Summer Intensive Language program, and looking back on my month there I can confidently say that it was the best month of my life so far. The support I recieved during the program was phenomenal. The Afs staff and volunteers were all so friendly and approachable and my host family were made up of some of the kindest, most hospitable people I have ever met. I went into the program knowing very little Japanese, as well as not being the most confident, outgoing person ever. I wouldn't say that this program totally allowed me transform me a totally new, extroverted person, but it did teach me to not to be afraid of trying new things and to not be afraid of making mistakes (because you will make them. A LOT of them). Considering I was only there for 5 weeks, I am pleased with how my Japanese progressed, as by the end of the program I was able to pretty solidly hold a basic conversation with a native speaker.

Probably one of the highlights for me on this trip was not only experiencing so many different aspects of Japanese culture, but meeting so many people from around the world. I couldn't tell you how many nationalities were represented on this program as there were so many. It was truly amazing that we were all able to become so close with each other, and as time went on I began to see them less and less as being Italian or French or Australian or Malaysian or American, but as simply being my friends. You WILL meet a lot of nationalities on this program, which I thought was one of the rewarding aspects of it. You not only get to learn about Japanese culture, but you get to learn about everyone else's cultures as well, even your own.

Finally, the biggest piece of advice I have for you is one that you might hear a lot, and it's SAY YES TO EVERYTHING. As cliché as it might sound, it's true. Some of the best times I had was by doing everything I could possibly do, even if at first it didn't sound fun or if I was tired. I made so many memories by doing things such as simply going to the grocery store with my host mom; you never know what you could end up experiencing.

Although I do recognize that studying abroad isn't for everyone, if you are on the fence about going I urge you to do it. Some days will be hard and sometimes you will feel disheartened, sorrowful, or even scared, but that's how you grow. You will learn so much, try so many new things, meet so many new people, eat so many types of new food you thought never existed, and ultimately come away with a greater understanding and a new perspective of the world around you. Although I was only there for a month, AFS definitely changed my life. I hope that it will change yours too.

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Brooke
Female
18 years old
Ogden

My life changed in India!

10/10

Going to India was absolutely incredible! I will never be able to express how much it did for me. I'll always remember arriving to a birthday cake and gift from my sweet host family. Then, the first day, I found myself doing a dance in front of some underprivileged children. For those who know me, I don't dance. So I really was able to do things in India that got me out of my comfort zone. I realized in going to India that it wasn't the Taj Mahal and places that I visited that made India cool, it was the people I met and the culture that I experienced. I learned a ton and will always be grateful for the hospitality of the people there and the friendships I made.

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Anna
Female
19 years old
Wayzata, Minnesota
University of Minnesota

AFS Switzerland 2014-2015

9/10

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 can 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.

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Isabel
Female
19 years old
Washington, DC
George Washington University

Amazing!

10/10

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!

Program Listings

Japan

AFS-USA
Year & Semester: Japan offers an unparalleled opportunity to dive into Japanese culture and live with a host family, while at...

Italy

AFS-USA
Year & Semester: Italians know how to enjoy life, whether through exquisite art, music food, and architecture, or the company...

France

AFS-USA
Year & Semester: Adopt France's world-famous culture, from food and architecture to philosophy and painting. With full immers...

Spain

AFS-USA
Semester & Year: Adopt the life of a Spaniard by spending a semester living with a host family and attending a high school am...

Costa Rica

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AFS-USA
Summer community service: This four-week program is an exceptional opportunity to get deep into the culture of Costa Rica whi...

Argentina

AFS-USA
Year & Semester: Skyrocket you Spanish by spending a semester in one of the southernmost countries in the world. Family plays...

Germany

AFS-USA
Year, Semester, Gap: Known for their direct communication, Germans love spirited conversation about politics, economics, envi...

India

AFS-USA
Year: Get a full dose of cultural immersion while studying abroad in India for a full year. This program offers a truly uniqu...

Switzerland

AFS-USA
Year & Gap: Spend an academic year in Switzerland after high school absorbing Swiss culture and lifestyle by living with a ho...

Netherlands

AFS-USA
Year: Take on the Dutch lifestyle for a year by living with a host family and attending a local high school. A highlight of t...

Thailand

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AFS-USA
Summer Homestay: This seven-week summer program is your chance to have a Southeast Asian high school experience without missi...

Italy

AFS-USA
Summer art: You will arrive in Rome and immediately transfer to Tuscany where you will participate in a 5-day orientation cam...

Norway

AFS-USA
Year and Gap: Spend a year in Norway living with a host family and attending a local school. By the end, you will likely neve...

Belgium

AFS-USA
This program in French-speaking Belgium will allow you to experience a magical country in the heart of Western Europe. Spend...

Portugal

AFS-USA
Year & Gap: You will most likely attend a private school. AFS students are usually enrolled in the 4th or 5th year of seconda...