Study Abroad Program Update and Information for Sending Volunteers

Study Abroad Program Update and Information for Sending Volunteers

Dear Volunteers,

It is my sincere hope that you all are staying well during these challenging times. I’m writing to encourage you to continue talking with families about AFS and sharing our positive stories, experiences, and available study abroad programs. As you can imagine, our work with our study abroad applicants has presented complex challenges as we wait to see when the world, and the AFS network, might begin to operate within our own “new normal”.

Until then, we are carrying on with our recruitment and retention of 2020’s study abroad applicants. We are working closely with our partners to monitor the virus and its impact on our communities, schools, host families and volunteers, and governments. We know that we will have to continue to monitor these things and make tough decisions about program viability.

When the environment allows us to make a decision, we will communicate with each applicant and their parent individually so that we may first try to provide alternatives for those applicants. A few programs have been cancelled thus far, mainly due to restrictions around visas. Additionally, we have been sending periodic updates to Parents and Applicants that have more general information including our amended NH20 refund policy.

NH20 Cancelled Programs: 
•    Australia Fall High School
•    China Summer Language
•    Italy Summer Language
•    Japan Summer Language
•    Australia Summer Global Prep
•    Japan Global Prep
•    Ireland Summer Global Prep
•    Germany Media Global Prep
•    Poland Global Prep
•    Czech Republic Global Prep
•    Hungary Global Prep

We have made two key changes to our processes in order to offer flexibility and reduce financial barriers:

•    All interviews can and should be conducted via Skype/Zoom/any other video platform that you prefer. Video interviews should still be conducted with the applicant and their parents.

•    The $500 Program Deposit for NH20 applicants can be refunded whether AFS cancels the program for an applicant who is in line for a program or because a parent/applicant chooses to withdraw up to two weeks prior to departure.

Who do I go to if I have questions?
As information is changing quickly, please contact your Study Abroad Field Specialist to find out the latest updates or information about Study Abroad at AFS. They can point you in the direction of resources! They can also put you in touch with the Study Abroad Specialist working with your team’s applicants. They are:

April Shern,  – West Region

Kelly Nugent, – Southeast, Eastern Lakes Region, Mountains and Plains Region

Marla McLeod-Ali,  – Northeast Region, Western Lakes Region

We thank you for joining us in promoting AFS study abroad experiences to the youth of our country! While it may seem to be an unattainable possibility right now, we will come back from this and we will continue in our efforts to facilitate life-changing experiences for teenagers on a global scale! As always, thank you for all that you do every day to support the mission of AFS. We are grateful to you.

With thanks,

Caitlin Schneider
Senior Director, Study Abroad Experience and Operations
(preferred pronouns: she, her, hers)
Phone: (646) 751-2126