What is AFS Intercultural Programs?
AFS Intercultural Programs promote international understanding and world peace
AFS is one of the world’s largest community-based volunteer organizations dedicated to building a more just and peaceful world through international student exchange. More than 13,000 students, young adults and teachers participate in AFS programs annually.
AFS is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organization that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.
AFS was created in 1914 and has been doing intercultural programs since 1947, currently present in more than 54 countries with over
11,000 exchanges per year.
AFS began as „American Field Service‟ in WWI & II when nearly 5,000 young men from all over the world volunteered as ambulance drivers. These young men who had seen the horrors of war pledged to promote peace and global understanding through intercultural
This volunteer driven organization international, non-governmental, non-profit, organization with headquarters in New York, provides intercultural learning opportunities and experiences for young people to develop the knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world. It currently consists of 52 partners/affiliate countries.
Since 1947, when the first student exchanges took place, more than 360 000 participants and a similar number of host families have been a part of AFS worldwide.
Presently there are more than 36,000 active volunteers worldwide in various roles including board leadership, program operations, participant support, and marketing. The volunteer body is generally comprised of program alumni, and their families, former host families, and teachers. Volunteers are unpaid. These are the people who keep the wheels of AFS running.
The essence of any AFS program is ‘Stay and Study’ in a different cultural setting. Participants live with a host family experiencing home and family life that is in many ways different to their own culture and routine.
The benefits of this intercultural experience are manifold. The participant, the host family, host school, and the community get an opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.
AFS believes that we must build bridges of understanding and mutual respect between countries and cultures around the world. We further believe that today‟s youth – and tomorrow‟s leaders – are among the best “bridge builders” between nations.
AFS Intercultural Programs in India
After a hiatus of nearly 30 years, AFS returned to India in 2005 by sending a group of 45 students to USA, Italy, Norway, Switzerland,Hong Kong and Japan.Over the past four years, more than 200 high school students from India have gone abroad on AFS exchanges to the different parts of the world. In addition, we also have programs for teachers who have gone to Japan and Denmark under the teacher exchange program. Besides „sending‟, AFS India „hosted‟ students from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland. These participants stayed in Indian homes and attended local schools.
In 2009-10 AFS India is hosting close to 50 students and teachers from more than 10 different countries. The numbers are increasing every year. Presently we are in 23 cities with 14 local chapters of AFS India at Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Baroda, Chennai, Jamshedpur, Mumbai, Pune and many more. The national office is in New Delhi.
Every year AFS provides thousands of high school age (16–18 year old) students from all over the world with opportunities to live in another country for an academic year. The young people become immersed in the life of their new community, living with a local host family and attending a local high school. They learn to appreciate other ways of doing things and begin to break down the barriers between cultures and people. The personal growth and learning for both students and their families is profound and sustained. Students gain increased maturity, skills and confidence, making them more successful in their academic and working lives. The families gain extended life-long relationships. Many students and families become involved in AFS as volunteers after the experience to help find and support other students and families to go on AFS.
•Astrong connection to and involvement with the people and way of life of your host country.
•New relationships that will change your outlook in profound ways.
•Apassion for understanding different cultures in addition to the one you visit.
•The ability to understand and to express yourself in another language, often fluently.
•Alifelong interest in and concern for the other countries and international issues.
•Agreater flexibility when dealing with other people and situations.
• For more details please visit the AFS official website or contact our volunteers.