June 29 Update Re: YES Abroad 2020-21 Program Timeline for American Participants

June 29 Update Re: YES Abroad 2020-21 Program Timeline for American Participants

Please note that this message is internal and for reference by AFS-USA Volunteers regarding the YES Abroad 2020-21 program.


Dear AFS-USA Volunteers,

We hope this message finds you and your loved ones doing well during this difficult time.

This is an important update about the YES Abroad program for 2020-21. The State Department’s decision about YES Abroad is independent of and does not have any bearing on any flagship (core) programs, nor to the inbound YES to USA hosting program.

All outbound American YES Abroad 2020-21 students recently received the following program update from the U.S. Department of State:

The 2020-21 YES Abroad program will begin as a virtual exchange. The U.S. Department of State and YES Abroad implementing partners will review public health and travel conditions later this year to determine whether participants can travel overseas to complete their program. Participant travel before January 2021 will not be considered.

If participants do not travel abroad for an in-person exchange during the 2020-21 academic year, they will be eligible to apply to the 2021-22 YES Abroad program, provided they meet other eligibility criteria.

The Sponsored Programs staff at AFS-USA will continue to work with students, natural families, and our international partners on the pre-departure phase, including training for participants about culture, health and safety, the adjustment process, the AFS support network, etc. We will additionally collaborate with AFS partner countries, American Councils, and the U.S. Department of State to develop and implement the virtual exchange component, beginning in the fall of 2020.

AFS-USA will remain in touch with the U.S. Department of State regarding their decision about the feasibility of student travel in January 2021. If students depart internationally in January 2021, we would not anticipate the program end dates extending beyond the typical May – June window.

As shared above, AFS-USA staff and volunteers are continuing with pre-departure preparations and requirements at this time, including the in-home sending interviews (virtually).

We sincerely thank our volunteers, participants, and natural families for their dedication to the meaningful citizen diplomacy fostered by the YES Abroad program, especially during these difficult times! Please reach Heather or Allen with any questions about the YES Abroad program at yesabroad@afsusa.org or 646-751-2151.

With our best,

Heather and Allen
Heather Jackson, YES Abroad Specialist
Allen Evans, Manager, Outbound Sponsored Programs


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