SH21 National Virtual Pre-Departure Orientation

SH21 National Virtual Pre-Departure Orientation

In light of the uncertainties and complexities surrounding COVID-19, AFS-USA will run a series of National Virtual Pre-Departure Orientations for the SH21 departure cycle. Led by staff and volunteers, the PDO webinars will focus on the intercultural learning aspects of the student preparation and complement the concepts covered in the Student Learning Journey.  Staff will also invite students to participate in National Virtual Pre-Program Prep webinars covering topics such as the AFS Support Chain of Communication, Cultural Adjustment, AFS program policies, etc.

As was the case in NH20, Gateway Orientations will not take place in the SH21 cycle. Travel and logistic webinars will be held that include a detailed review of international flights, logistics for the day of travel and travel safety protocols. Students will continue to receive their travel notification shortly after their program has received a “green light.”

By early December, all SH21 participants will be invited to register for a PDOs to take place on the following dates and times. To check to see if students from your area have registered for a  PDO, please contact Lauren Kramer at

Click here for instructions on how to determine which students from your Team are preparing to depart.


Friday 8-Jan 3PM EST 2PM CST 1PM MST 12PM PST
Saturday 9-Jan 3PM EST 2PM CST 1PM MST 12PM PST
Thursday 11-Feb 8PM EST 7PM CST 6PM MST 5PM PST
Friday 12-Feb 3PM EST 2PM CST 1PM MST 12PM PST
Wednesday 10-Mar 8PM EST 7PM CST 6PM MST 5PM PST


How can Teams be involved in the SH21 Pre-Departure Orientation– A Zoom Panel! 

While all outbound students are required to attend a National Virtual National PDO, we encourage Teams to also connect virtually with their outbound participants and natural parents.

Please click here to learn about creative way to connect with participants virtually prior to departure from Volunteer Sending Coordinator, Erin Sanders, of the San Francisco Area Team.