Pre-Arrival Host Family Orientation
All AFS Area Teams that will have hosted students in the coming cycle are expected to hold a Pre-Arrival Host Family Orientation (HFO) for the host families in their team. All AFS host families are expected to attend for a variety of reasons including,
- Connecting with other host families
- Asking questions
- Preparing for the exchange experience
- Setting expectations
- Connecting with the local team of volunteers
The orientation event may be in-person or virtual and may include a social aspect in some cases. An in-person event is preferred for some of the reasons mentioned above, however if an in-person event is not viable for reasons of availability or geography a virtual option may be offered.
Host families and participants are active partners in the intercultural learning experience, and are guided by local volunteers throughout the process. That process starts before the student arrives and host families are encouraged to engage with their local AFS volunteers and other host families so they can be as prepared and excited for the experience as their student is.
Siblings are often encouraged to attend this orientation as they may have some questions of their own to ask and AFS fully supports the role of siblings in a successful hosting experience.
In addition to the local Pre-Arrival HFO all Host Families are expected to complete the Online Host Family Orientation modules prior to their student’s departure from their home country. Required by the Department of State for all U.S Host Families, a link to the modules is sent to each family via email upon confirmation as a host family. It is important to note that the content compliments the local Host Family Orientation mentioned above, it does not duplicate it, so host families are expected to prioritize both before their students arrival.
Host Family Orientations Throughout the Year
In addition to the Pre-Arrival Host Family Orientation some Area Teams may choose to gather host families together, check in and revisit some of the concepts covered in the Host Family Learning Journey, throughout the year. Again, host families are strongly encouraged to attend any orientation events the local team offers to them, as the connection, intercultural learning and sharing they provide is valuable to the overall hosting experience.