AFS-USA

AFS-USA

About

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.

Reviews

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Morgan
10/10

No matter where you end up living in Costa Rica, there is always an opportunity to travel and see the other parts of the country. Traveling throughout Costa Rica is very easy because of how great the public bus system is and how reasonable the costs are. The people of Costa Rica are very friendly and always willing to sit down to talk over coffee and bread in the afternoon. The atmosphere is 100% Pura Vida and everybody is always relaxed and very go-with-the-flow.

How can this program be improved?
The staff in Costa Rica can be more proactive in changing families (rather than waiting 2-3 months for uncomfortable students).
Yes, I recommend
Myiah
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.
Yes, I recommend
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Lola
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.

Yes, I recommend
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Brooke
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.

Yes, I recommend
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Anna
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.
Yes, I recommend

AFS-USA Programs

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AFS-USA
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