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Forget your comfort zone, become a global citizen with AFS

Whether you are in high school, at a university or jump-starting your career, AFS has the right programme for you! Go to school, learn another language or check out our cultural internships and volunteer abroad opportunities. Host families and volunteers are waiting to help make your intercultural learning experience the best time of your life.

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“Discover a new culture, a new language. Make friends for life from all parts of the world. It’s a year in which you’ll grow up and get to know yourself—your limits and your capabilities. You’ll change completely in the best way possible.”


Giulia Andar, exchange student from Italy to Germany

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AFS is committed to helping young people to go abroad regardless of their financial situation. That’s why AFS works with corporate and community sponsors and individual donors to help finance AFS programmes through full and partial scholarships.

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Expose your family to a world outside of their own by helping an international student achieve her global dreams. Explore a new culture and share your family life and traditions.

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“Being a host family is both a challenge and a pleasure. We are watching a complete stranger become close to us, and how we are becoming important to him. It’s almost two months since Mateo arrived and he already has a place in our family. We are teaching him about life in Serbia, and learning about life in Sicily. When our relatives call, the first thing they ask is no longer ‘How are you doing?’, but ‘What is Mateo up to?’.”

—Tijana Marjanovic, host sister from Serbia 

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Explore your potential and pick from a choice of roles and flexible schedules. Benefit from our exceptional volunteer training programme, develop your leadership skills and help others learn how to live together.

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“Joining my local group of AFS volunteers gave me the opportunity to develop many skills, such as how to work in a team and interact with people from different backgrounds. As an AFS volunteer, I am more engaged in my community and I meet people from all over the world. Helping students, teachers and families embark on intercultural learning adventures makes me appreciate the importance of world peace and intercultural understanding.”

—Marcela Vazquez, AFS Argentina volunteer 

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AFS Education

Learn how AFS helps people of all ages and backgrounds develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to connect to diverse people, succeed in a global economy and help make a positive impact on the world.

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Creating global citizens, empowering changemakers

These days you don’t have to go far to find an AFSer making a difference in local communities, across industries or at the forefront of an important international issue or social cause. 

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Comprehensive, global AFS Intercultural Programs research explores the motivations for and hindrances to high school international study among Generation Z

NEW YORK, N.Y. (February 09, 2017) – Cultural exploration is the primary motivator for Generation Z youth to study abroad, according to a new report published by AFS Intercultural Programs, a leader in international exchange mobility and intercultural learning. The first-of-its-kind report, Mapping Generation Z: Attitudes toward International Education Programs, polled more than 5,000 teenagers (aged 13-18) in nearly 30 countries about their attitudes and perceptions on studying abroad, experiencing new ideas and immersing themselves in drastically different cultures than their own.
And the outcomes show that the idea of cultural exploration is an exciting one for Generation Z. Of the more than 5,000 teenagers aged 13-18 who responded, 60 percent indicated they have already considered an exchange. The majority of respondents (57 to 75 percent, depending on geographic region of origin) expressed that their primary motivator for considering international education was to seek new cultural experiences.
“This study clearly demonstrates that young people around the world are eager to embrace and experience different cultures and ideas,” said Daniel Obst, president of AFS Intercultural Programs. “Our world is stronger and more dynamic when people have the skills and competence to engage with one another.”
While the concept of cultural exploration is enticing to Generation Z, obstacles remain. According to the survey, concerns about safety and security have an impact on students’ decision to study abroad; in fact, the percentage of students citing concerns for safety and security increased by 16 percent throughout the survey’s data-collection period, which took place with the backdrop of a number of terrorist attacks in 2016. With 52 percent of students indicating they have concerns about safety and security, this supersedes other common perceived roadblocks to pursuing international study, including fear of isolation (50 percent), homesickness (48 percent) and discrimination (34 percent).
“The data sheds light on the acute awareness that Generation Z exhibits around the events affecting global security,” said Hristo Banov, the primary architect of the study. “As it is, the youth and student travel industry bolsters a variety of best practices to keep participants safe. It is of utmost importance that we continue to demonstrate strong understanding of risk management and safety along with an unwavering commitment to empowering global citizens ready to embrace the ideas of intercultural understanding and acceptance.”
Affordability remains a significant hurdle to international mobility and study abroad, especially as programs expand to more countries throughout the developing world. One-third of respondents (33 percent) in developing countries said that they would need scholarships and grants to pursue international education; in advanced economies, just about 15 percent reported similar needs. In addition, the report found that English-speaking countries such as the U.S., U.K. and Australia are the most sought-after destinations and earned the highest interest ratings (77 percent) for potential students seeking programs abroad, while emerging markets like Brazil and China fared significantly lower.
Other factors which influence a student’s decision to go abroad include reputation of the host country (77 percent) and reputation of the host school (64 percent).
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Mapping Generation Z: Attitudes toward International Education Programs:
This research was conducted by the Management Information Unit at AFS Intercultural Programs via a survey across 27 countries. The survey was translated into 16 languages. The collection period was March 2016 through December 2016. The 5,255 respondents ranged in age from 13-18 years.

The full report can be found at

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