Introducing the ALEX Program: Call for Host Communities

Introducing the ALEX Program: Call for Host Communities

Dear AFS Volunteers,

The Sponsored Programs department at AFS-USA is very excited to announce that AFS will be implementing the Department of State’s American Leadership Experience (ALEX) program this spring and summer!

The ALEX program is a two-week program for 2020-21 YES and FLEX finalists who were not able to come to the United States for an in-person academic year program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Participating students will spend one week engaging in a host community and another week exploring the themes of volunteerism, civic education, and IDEA (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility) in Washington D.C. We are very excited for this opportunity to connect with some of the 2020-21 virtual participants in person and welcome involvement from Area Teams interested in hosting students for one week.

Please see the below FAQ for more information on the ALEX program. If your team is interested in becoming a host community, please complete this JotForm survey by January 7, 2022, and contact the ALEX team at with any questions. While we hope to engage with all interested Area Teams, it is possible that we may receive more interested teams than groups of students. As such, submitting the interest form does not guarantee participation.

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season ahead,

The ALEX team at AFS-USA

American Leadership Exchange Program Frequently Asked Questions 

When will the ALEX program take place? 

AFS will welcome three groups of ALEX students:

  • April17-30, 2022
    • 33 students from Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, and South Africa
    • Host Community Dates: April 18-24, 2022
  • July 10-23, 2022
    • 71 students from Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand, and Turkey
    • Host Community Dates: July 11-17, 2022
  • July 17-30, 2022
    • 65 students from Egypt, Ghana, India, and Indonesia
    • Host Community Dates:July 18-24, 2022

Each group will fly into DC on a Sunday and travel to their host communities the next day (Monday). Students will fly back to DC the following Sunday, where they will spend the remainder of the program.

 Where will the ALEX program take place? 

ALEX students will spend one week engaging in a host community, which can be located anywhere in the U.S., and another week exploring the themes of volunteerism, civic education, and IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility) in Washington D.C.

 What are the responsibilities of being a host community? 

Host communities are responsible for identifying host families for a group of ALEX students and one group leader for six (6) nights. Host communities are also responsible for implementing local enhancement activities for students to increase their understanding of their community and the U.S., and to build connections with ALEX students and community members.

 How many students can my Area Team host? 

Host communities are required to host at least 10 students and can commit to hosting up to 12 students. It is important that ALEX host families are clustered in a way that allows students to gather for in-person activities throughout the week.

 Can I host a student I know from the 2020-21 virtual program? 

While host communities may host students they know from the 2020-21 virtual program, the ALEX program cannot accommodate requests to match specific students to a community due to the structure of the program.

Students were assigned to an ALEX program session based on their recruitment organization. AFS will facilitate the ALEX program for YES students from Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Malaysia, Mozambique, Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, and Turkey. American Councils will facilitate the program for students from the remaining YES countries and all FLEX students.

 Which host family application will ALEX host families use? 

Host families interested in hosting ALEX students will complete the event family application. This application includes sections on family composition, introductions, and personal history, and the host family home. It also requires the family to provide references, sign the host family agreement, and consent to background checks. ALEX host families will need an in-home interview facilitated by an AFS volunteer as part of their application and will complete an asynchronous online orientation prior to hosting.

 Can ALEX students be double placed? 

Yes, up to three ALEX students can be placed with the same host family, however, no more than two students of the same sex can be placed in a room, and students must have their own bed, (not an air mattress or couch), and an appropriate level of privacy (i.e. a bedroom with doors – a family or living room would not be acceptable).

 Will ALEX students need a school placement? 

No, ALEX students will not attend school as part of the program, nor need a school placement for entry purposes.

 What is an enhancement activity? 

Enhancement activities are activities organized by AFS volunteers to provide students with first-hand insight into American political and social infrastructure, our cultural heritage and values, and the concept of civil society. Enhancement activities should connect students with community leaders in government, cultural diversity/native peoples, and community service/volunteerism to encourage students to develop their own interests and leadership abilities.

ALEX host communities must organize 3-4 enhancement activities for their locally hosted students to connect them with the community. These activities can include touring local sites and museums to learn about local history, meeting with AFS volunteers and host families to better understand the diversity of U.S. families, and involving students in local community service projects to underscore the significance of volunteerism.

 Do host communities receive a budget for the ALEX program? 

Yes, host communities can be reimbursed for up to $150 per student for the cost of implementing enhancement activities. Students will also receive a stipend that they can use to cover out-of-pocket expenses during their program.

 Can I volunteer with the ALEX program in DC? 

Yes, we welcome volunteer involvement during the DC portion of the ALEX program. The ALEX team is looking for 5-10 volunteers to act as orientation leaders and deliver content in DC. Please email the ALEX team at if you are interested in volunteering in DC in this capacity. Be sure to include ALEX DC VOLUNTEER in the subject line and note your COVID vaccination status, Area Team affiliation, any previous orientation leader experience, and availability for each ALEX session in the body of your email. Please note that volunteers must be fully vaccinated in order to volunteer with the ALEX program in DC.

 Is there a COVID vaccine requirement for the ALEX program? 

Yes, all ALEX participants will be fully vaccinated prior to their arrival in the U.S. AFS encourages all volunteers involved with the ALEX program to follow local and CDC (Center for Disease Control) guidance when interacting with participants.