May 26 AFS-USA Host Family Update

May 26 AFS-USA Host Family Update

This message was sent to all current NH19, SH20 host families whose host students have not yet departed the U.S. These updates will be sent weekly until all students have returned to their home countries.

*Please note in version sent to host families, Sierra Leone was mistakenly replaced with Suriname – Suriname students have already departed, in case you get any questions.

Dear AFS Host Families,

We hope you all had a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend. We are writing with this week’s update for host families of the approximately 80 AFS students still hosted in the US.

Please note: While all US states have begun lifting some of the restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please continue to follow CDC as well as State and local Health Department guidelines. In some cases, we have received information about return travel charter flights with only 24-48 hours’ notice and some of these flights include a fit to fly requirement that requires a virtual or in person visit with a medical professional. As such, please remain in or near your community, if at all possible, rather than travelling to a location that may make it impossible for you to make the charter flight, should one become available for you. If you cannot avoid traveling outside of the general region where you live, please inform your AFS Volunteers or support staff in case we need to reach you urgently for any new repatriation opportunities that may come up.

As has been the case with previous updates, individual students who were unable to return home with the rest of the students from their home country are not included on this update. For these individual students, AFS Staff will be in direct contact with you and your student when we have information to share about return travel.

In the event that your AFS student is informed of a return travel possibility before we have notified you, please contact our Travel staff at

Below, please find this week’s return travel update for students who are still hosted in the US.

China –The Chinese government is continuing to contact some students directly about possible return flights, which could be within the next week. If your student receives one of these messages, please ask them to make sure that their family in China is working with AFS in China in order to move the plans forward. AFS-China will contact AFS-USA as return international flights are confirmed. Please also share this information with AFS travel staff at

Colombia – To be determined.

Ecuador  – Returning this week.

Guatemala  – To be determined.

Hungary – AFS-USA and AFS-Hungary are exploring commercial flight opportunities for repatriation this week or next for our remaining two participants. If and when domestic and international flights are confirmed, AFS-USA will contact Host Families and participants.

India – To be determined.

Peru – To be determined as return flight was just cancelled due to extended quarantine.

The following FLEX and YES Sponsored Programs cohorts have planned upcoming travel:

YES North Macedonia (MCD): departing domestically May 28, internationally May 29

For the following countries ECA, AFS, and American Councils continue to seek opportunities for repatriation, and the YES and FLEX Teams at AFS-USA will continue to be in contact directly with host families and students with any additional updates:

FLEX: Azerbaijan (AZE), Mongolia (MNF),  Romania (RMF), Turkmenistan (TUK), Ukraine (UKR)

YES: Cameroon (CRN), Ghana (GHA), India (IND), Liberia (LBI), Libya (LBY), Mali (MAL), Morocco (MOR), Mozambique (MOZ), Philippines (PHI), Senegal (SNL), Sierra Leone (SRE), Tanzania (TNZ).

International Trivia Night 

Friday’s (May 22) Trivia Night was a success (see photo below)! The winner was Emmanuel Domba from Sierra Leone. Emmanuel answered 45 out of 57 questions correctly! Thank you to all students who participated. Some of those questions were quite challenging!

The Sponsored Programs Department

From our Participant Support Department

Thank you to the host students and families who have participated in our virtual events these past few weeks. You can see a photo from the Eid al-Fitr celebration below. Read on to learn more about our upcoming opportunities! We will continue to include them in these updates.

AFS Student Hangout, Wed, May 27, 5 pm ET

Now scheduled weekly, please see the new schedule below.

Has this quarantine made you feel isolated? You’re not alone. AFS would like to invite you to spend some virtual time with your fellow hosted students who currently remain in the US, just like you. Support staff will host these hang outs every Wednesday at 5 pm ET until all hosted students have returned home. This will be a great opportunity to connect with other students in a casual environment. Find out who is still here and what everyone’s been up to. You will not be expected to prepare anything, just show your face!

Next Hangout: May 27, 2020 05:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Upcoming Hangouts:

June 3, 2020 05:00 PM
June 10, 2020 05:00 PM
June 17, 2020 05:00 PM
June 24, 2020 05:00 PM

Join the hangout via this link

Meeting ID: 911 3813 4440
Password: 079878

Deadline Extension! AFS Changemakers: A Narrative Project

We have extended our deadline for submissions to Friday, June 5th. You can view the project here.

Please encourage your student to participate and post a picture of their piece on social media using the hashtags #AFSEffect and #Explorefromhome.

Have a great rest of the week!

Your AFS-USA Support Team