Calling Sending Volunteers: Updates on 2021 & 2022 Programs

Calling Sending Volunteers: Updates on 2021 & 2022 Programs

Dear AFS Sending Volunteers,

We wanted to provide you with an update about our flagship 2021 and 2022 Programs and provide you with information about what is happening in the world of AFS-USA’s study abroad programs.

In talking with a volunteer yesterday I realized that it is often confusing to understand exactly what it means to say study abroad programs. The AFS-USA Study Abroad team works with our outbound sending applicants who are applying for core, flagship programs. This means that, aside from potentially being awarded scholarships, these are full fee-paying applicants. Similarly to their counterparts on the hosting side, these participants are applying for AFS-USA programs directly through AFS-USA’s website. A different department of staff work with the outbound Sponsored Programs participants. These staff work with all participants applying for CB, YES Abroad, NSLI-Y, and FLEX programs. These programs are all State Department, government sponsored programs and like their hosting counterparts require a very different application and preparation system. So, the two groups of participants are handled by two different staff teams at AFS-USA. While we will do our best to answer any and all questions posed to us, we may sometimes need to direct you to the staff best equipped to answer questions about either our Flagship or Sponsored Programs applicants respectively.

To meet our team and understand which one of us is assigned to which team and program, please visit this MyAFS News article that was posted in January of 2021! Please also welcome Jennifer Hinrichs to our Study Abroad team! Jennifer is a former AFS-USA staff member who worked primarily on our hosting short programs. We are thrilled to have her back with us as a Study Abroad Specialist.

Contact information for the Study Abroad Team:

Caitlin Schneider, Senior Director (

Justin DeAndrade, Senior Manager (

Adriana Miladinovic, Study Abroad Specialist – Focus on Visas and Faces of America (

Jennifer Hinrichs– Study Abroad Specialist (


Remember that for any needs regarding AFS-USA Flagship program participants, you can always reach out to with questions or check to see which staff person is assigned to your area team in the Team widget on MyAFS and reach out to us directly!


Studying Abroad and COVID-19

Obviously, there are many new challenges that we face when planning and implementing our study abroad programs. We are sure that you also have many questions about how decisions are being made about program feasibility, what you should be communicating to applicants and parents, and what you should be preparing for. Please be sure to check out the Study Abroad section within the COVID-19: FAQ’s and Resources section of MyAFS Help and LearningThere are lots of great articles, including information on AFS’s Framework for Program viability, Travel Information, Pre-Departure Orientations in the time of COVID, and more!


Year and Semester Fall 2021 Programs

At this point, our recruitment for Fall departing year and semester programs has concluded. While we might have a few late applicants move forward under special circumstances, for the most part our participants applications have been transferred to the hosting partner. At this point, we are following up with partners to answer any outstanding questions about our applicants so that the partner provides program acceptances to our participants.

We have also begun working on visas, travel, and orientations for this group! We ran the first of two Program Preparation webinars this past Wednesday where we gather all participants and parents together to talk about program realities, set expectations, and go over what comes next in the AFS process!

This Fall we will have about 120 participants travelling on year and semester programs to 24 different destinations!


Summer Programs 2021

Please reference our Summer specific updates that include the messaging being sent out to applicants and parents. The next article will come out on May 10th when we send the next update out.

We are closely monitoring the situations in each of our summer program destinations. At this point, the greatest challenge to our programs operating is quarantine and entry requirements of the hosting country. We continue to have applicants prepare their final applications and we will transfer those applications to our partners so that we are prepared to move forward if we are able. However, we will be making final decisions about summer program viability at the end of May to also ensure that partners and families have ample time to react and make alternative plans should our programs not be able to move forward.

At this point, the following programs are still open:

Spain Summer Global Prep

Columbia Summer Global Prep

France Summer Language Study Program

Human Rights and LGBTQ+ Studies in Argentina

Kenya Summer Global Prep

Scandinavian Summer Camp


Upcoming 2022 programs, Spring and Fall


Our Spring SH 2022 programs will be available for new applicants beginning on Monday, May 3rd! If you have any interested applicants, please let them know that they can begin their applications on Monday! We will also be sending out messaging to anyone who expressed interest in a Spring 2022 program on our website to let them know about these program offerings. Deadlines for Spring programs are usually between September and October, so if you are talking to anyone considering study abroad programs in the Spring, be sure to ask them to apply over the summer!


We plan on opening Fall NH 2022 programs in September of 2022. This will ensure that all of our Fall program applicants are applying within a year of their program (a requirement by AFS International). Please be sure to let interested applicants for Fall 2022 programs know that they can select the “Get Info” button on the program page to submit their email to us. They will be put on an email list that will receive regular program updates, including a notification when the Fall 2022 programs open!


Scholarships for 2021

As you may have already seen on our Scholarships Page, AFS-USA has had to significantly reduce the number of scholarships we are able to offer due to the financial impact of COVID-19. The largest impact is that we are no longer able to offer the Global Leaders Scholarship, which was one of our farthest-reaching scholarships by far.

The majority of scholarships available are Local Scholarships– which we, and applicants are very thankful for! If you are the contact person for a Local Scholarship, please be sure to review your team’s scholarship page for accuracy! If you see anything that is incorrect, or if you have any questions about how to determine an applicant’s financial need without the Global Leaders Scholarship, please reach out to Caitlin Schneider ( directly! 

The one nationally available scholarship we are able to continue to offer is the Helen “Peggie” Miller Scholarship. This scholarship was launched today and is available to any applicant in line for a year or semester long Fall 2021 program! This scholarship is a merit and needs-based scholarship and is valued at $5,000. Announcements about this scholarship have gone out to all eligible participants and parents today!


Remember that applications are open for the newly revived Study Abroad Advisory Group! Please submit an interest for if you are interested in learning more about the group, and/or joining!

Also remember that the Study Abroad widget has launched in MyAFS so you are able to see applicants from your team and gauge where they are in the application process!

As always, there is lots happening in the world of study abroad at AFS-USA! We so greatly appreciate all of the time, effort, and support that you all have put into helping make study abroad programs for our flagship program participants possible and we encourage you to reach out to us with any questions, concerns or feedback!


Caitlin Schneider