The process before leaving


Contact with the host family

The process of selecting families is meticulous, so it may take time. As soon as your host family has been found and their contact details in your hands, we encourage you to initiate the first contact with them as soon as possible.


Travel details

Information about the outward journey will be sent to you approximately two months before the scheduled departure date.



AFS guides its participants through any visa formalities by providing them with the various documents relating to the exchange programme. Once you have these documents in your possession, you are responsible for completing these formalities on time. The same applies to any recommended vaccines.


Information meeting for parents

Going abroad is an experience that not only for the participants but also for their entire families, which is why AFS is so keen to prepare parents! They are invited to a meeting whose objective is to enable them to anticipate their child’s departure as early as possible. Host families in host countries also follow a preparation linked to intercultural reception.



The arrival orientation, mandatory and over 2 days, is an opportunity to get to know the other participants and prepare you for your future stay. Facilitators are former participants who have experience with AFS and who want to accompany those like you who are walking in their footsteps. They can share their experiences and discuss the difficulties encountered, they can answer your questions and give you good advice. Topics to be covered include: departure preparations, the realities of the stay and culture shock.



The adventure begins

Our advice

Do you know what your own reasons are for participating in this program? In general, the main goal is to get to know a different way of life. There are also other fairly common reasons: maturing and becoming independent, learning another language and facing new challenges.

It is important for you to know that AFS programs are not tourism programs, so if your interests are to travel your host country from one year to the next or take a sabbatical year, perhaps you should reconsider your choice.

Think about what you hope to get from the experience and remember that an ideal year does not exist, nor does an ideal participant. Each intercultural exchange is a unique and personal experience.

AFS provides you with the organization and structure to carry out your exchange, but don’t forget that a large part of the success of your experience is in your hands! You will need to be open-minded, flexible and ready to overcome any obstacles that may arise.