Announcement Regarding Changes to End-of-Stay & Departures

Announcement Regarding Changes to End-of-Stay & Departures

With AFS-USA’s shift to a through ticketing model designed to provide an improved participant travel experience and streamline travel plans, AFS-USA’s End-of-Stay (EOS) and logistical activities related to participants’ return to their home country have also been updated.

Under the previous gateway return travel model, an orientation 6-8 weeks prior to departure (Pre-Return Orientation/PRO) was required in order to deliver important ICL activities related to educational and emotional topics relating to the end of a student’s program. Then, an EOS orientation was also required to gather students together and ensure they were in one place to travel to their departure gateway via charter buses or flights.

AFS International considers the orientation that happens 6-8 weeks before departure (what AFS-USA called our “Pre-Return” Orientation) the End-of -Stay Orientation.

Under the through ticketing model, participants will fly home from their local arrival airports. We also still need to consider COVID precautions around large gatherings and pre-travel testing requirements. Therefore, starting this summer 2022, AFS-USA will combine the Pre-Return and End-of-Stay orientation content into one End-of-Stay orientation 6-8 weeks prior to departure.

In place of the previous model of an EOS orientation, AFS-USA has developed a new Departure Logistics webinar that is focused specifically on the planning and logistics of Departures under the new through ticketing model.  This webinar will be delivered by the Area Team Departure Coordinator, in partnership with the Area Team Travel Rep, 1-2 weeks prior to the Area Team’s primary departure day and will be focused on specific airport logistics that are unique to each Area Team.

Therefore AFS-USA’s new Orientation schedule will be as follows.

  • Arrival Orientation – Within 1 week of student arrival
  • Post Arrival Orientation – 6-8 weeks after student arrival
  • Mid-Year Orientation – Mid-way through the year program (usually mid-January)
  • End-of-Stay Orientation – 6-8 weeks prior to the Team’s primary departure day
  • Departure Logistics Webinar – 1-2 weeks prior to the Team’s primary departure day

This new schedule will start with the NH21 departures and a combined PRO/EOS in May 2022.

In addition to the Area Team’s Travel Rep, teams will be asked to appoint a Departure Coordinator.  This new position, replacing the EOS Coordinator, will work together with the Area Team’s Travel Rep to:

  • Communicate with host families and students
  • Facilitate the team’s Departure Logistics Webinar
  • Organize volunteers to help at the airport on the Area Team’s Departure Day
  • Troubleshoot day of travel issues with AFS staff

Training and resources will be provided to the Departure Coordinators and Travel Reps throughout the spring to ensure smooth departures for all participants and Area Team volunteers.

Please refer to the End-of-Stay Orientation Help & Learning page and Departure Logistics Webinar Help & Learning Page for additional information. There are many helpful links and documents on these pages that will help navigate this new process.

Any questions should be directed to