Make a World of Difference—Volunteer with AFS India


Volunteers are the driving force behind all of the exchange programs offered by AFS. They are the backbone of the organization: a worldwide network of people who are committed to increasing intercultural understanding and communication. The dedication and support of these volunteers makes it possible for AFS Participants to embark on life-changing journeys of personal growth.

AFS Volunteers contribute their time and energy to help people develop the foundation to become responsible global citizens. During this process, they also have the opportunity to take part in an intercultural learning experience. Through their work with participants and host families, volunteers can learn more about their own cultures, practice other languages, develop leadership skills and take part in community activities.

There are many ways you can help AFS with your volunteer time!

• How to become a Volunteer. Learn about the AFS India volunteer application and registration process.

AFS is Volunteer-Driven


With only 750 full-time staff members, AFS relies heavily on a global network of volunteers to run successful exchange programs. There are more than 40,000 AFS Volunteers who are active at every level of the organization, from grassroots efforts within the community to policy development roles on national and international boards. For program participants, these people are the primary point of contact and support within the community. They recruit and screen candidates and host families, organize orientations and group gatherings, act as liaisons with host schools and even organize social activities.

In order to ensure that participants are supported throughout the exchange experience, volunteers are present in all the countries that AFS programs operate, as well as nearly all the communities with AFS activities or events. They are carefully trained and coached in the beginning by more experienced volunteers.

Different Types of volunteers

Long term volunteers

• Person who is dedicated to a cause or a group
• Strong sense of affiliation
• Emotional investment
• Sense of personal worth and identity gained from participation
• Self-recruitment because of existing commitment to the cause
• Growth from within, increasing connection over time
• Close connection with existing group of volunteers
• Shape job, time and energies to whatever is necessary to make the cause succeed
• Generalist, willing to do whatever type of work is required
• Motivation: matter of achievement and affiliation
• Recognition: best expressed as greater involvement or advancement in the cause of the organization

Short term volunteers

• General interest in organization or cause
• Involvement in the organization is not central in his/her life
• Actively recruited through participation in specific events or asked by a friend to volunteer
• May want a well-defined job of limited duration
• Specialist, willing/able to perform one kind of work
• Recognition of personal achievement, not status within the group
• Go from organization to organization
• Involved in one-off events



Episodic volunteers

• General interest in organization or cause
• Involvement in the organization is not central in his/her life
• Actively recruited through participation in specific events or asked by a friend to volunteer
• May want a well-defined job of limited duration
• Specialist, willing/able to perform one kind of work
• Recognition of personal achievement, not status within the group

It is important for our organization to keep the maximum amount of volunteers interested in working and contributing in every way they can for AFS. There are several ways to achieve this but one of the most successful ways not only to keep the interest, but also to create bonds and to call the attention of new people to become volunteers is to have Local Chapter events.

This event can go from the regular chapter meetings to an international food festival (with the help of your returnees and exchange students). The idea of this kind of events is to let the volunteers know that there is more than work in AFS, that we are a big family and as so we can also chill down and have a good time together. These events also give additional value to the experience of the exchange students who will be living in India, and can also be a great way to get new volunteers (generally people who come as guests or friends of the volunteers and participants).

The nature of the event is to be determined by the chapter volunteers and the nature of the chapter, adapted to your culture and the way your environment works. Food festivals, art expositions, photography contests, chapter’s birthday or any other kind of activity can become an interesting event that will surely bring happy moments to the chapter and that could become part of a tradition.

If you have any questions, please contact ational Office or send an email at india@afs.org