Families hosting an AFS student for a period of 7 nights or less should refer to the following information. Much of this information will help ensure the participant’s safety while on program and may be needed in the case of an emergency.
AFS Local Emergency Contact
Before the student arrives in your home, be sure to obtain contact information for your local AFS support volunteer(s) who can address any concerns, emergencies, or AFS related questions.
AFS Emergency Contact during Business Hours
AFS Support staff can be reached Monday through Friday, 9am to 6pm Eastern time.
In case of emergency, and you are unable to reach your local contact, please call: 1-800-AFS-INFO (1-800-237-4636) and press 9 to be connected to Support staff.
AFS Emergency Contact outside of Business Hours
In case of an emergency outside of business hours, and you are unable to reach your local contact, please call 1-800-AFS-INFO (1-800-237-4636) and press 9 to be connected to the AFS Duty Officer.
The AFS answering service will contact the Duty Officer who will return your call and assist you. If you don’t hear back from the Duty Officer within fifteen minutes, please call back and let them know it is your second time to call. They will either contact the Duty Officer again or contact the back-up Duty Officer for you. This service is for emergencies only. An emergency might be a car accident, serious illness and/or hospitalization of your student, any situation in which the police are involved, or any time you feel there is important information which must be communicated to the participant’s parent or guardian immediately.
Rules for AFS Participants While on Program
For their protection and in order to remain in good standing with the program, students are expected to obey all state, local and federal laws, as well as household and school rules. All students are encouraged to view themselves as ambassadors for their country, treating others with respect and actively engaging in intercultural exchanges with host family, school and community members.
The following rules apply to every participant hosted in the United States at all times:
The Three AFS Rules:
No Illegal Drugs
Possession and use of drugs is not allowed by AFS, unless medically prescribed. Participants have no immunity from the laws in the United States governing use of or involvement with illegal drugs.
All AFS participants are forbidden to drive cars (this rule applies to driving anywhere: private land, driveways, or parking lots), even if the host family or the owner of the vehicle says the participant may drive. Participants are also forbidden to drive trucks, motorcycles, motor scooters or motorboats.
While hitchhiking may be a common form of traveling in some countries, it is considered a potentially dangerous activity in the United States. AFS participants may not hitchhike. In addition, participants must not accept an unsolicited ride from an unknown person.
All AFS participants have been made aware of these rules and are responsible for knowing them. If an AFS participant breaks any one of these rules, he or she could be sent home immediately, and his or her participation on the program would be terminated. The decision to send a participant home is made by the AFS Staff in consultation with local AFS Volunteers.
Other Reasons for Program Termination-Early Return:
The following are other reasons that an AFS participant's program can be terminated.
- Taking unauthorized trips away from the host family or host community
- Unauthorized visits from a parent/guardian or friends from the home country
- Moving to another host family not arranged for and approved by AFS
Additional Orientation Material
Event and visit families who host a student for a very short period are not required to complete the online orientation that we require longer term Host Families to complete; however, we encourage you to review the Online Host Family Orientation to get a better sense of what host families and students experience during a typical year or semester program.
Participant Medical Coverage
The Participant Medical Plan booklet, which has been shared with the natural parents of all AFS participants, describes the medical coverage for participants while on program. The booklet outlines covered and non-covered expenses, what to do in the event of an accident, and includes claim forms and instructions for submitting claims, etc. This publication outlines the details of the Participant Medical Plan and the financial responsibility for medical treatment:
Participant Medical Plan
If your participant needs to see a doctor, please notify your local contact and remind your participant to bring his/her medical ID card to the appointment. The medical ID card has the participant's ID number and the insurance billing information for Global Medical Management. When a participant incurs a medical expense in the US, please ask the doctor or hospital to send the original bill, with their claim form directly to Global Medical Management not to AFS as sending the bill to AFS will delay payment.
Global Medical Management Inc. (GMMI)
880 SW 145th Avenue, Suite 400
Pembroke Pines, FL 33027,
USA Phone No. (888) 444-7773
Fax No. 1-954-370-8130
Insurance Liability Disclaimer
AFS does not provide any liability-insurance coverage for individual participants, Short or Event Program Host Families against any potential liability for claims or lawsuits that might be brought against them by third parties and for the assumption of or the reimbursement for the cost of defense of such claims and lawsuits. If an accident or event that results in a claim against the participant occurs at school or during a school-sponsored activity, the participant may be covered under the school’s liability insurance. AFS cannot be held responsible for any claim for any loss, damage, or injury by a party against individual participants or Short Program and Event Families and any indemnity claims by them.
Learn About Your Hosted Student's Country and Culture
CultureGrams is an online resource that contains information on over 200 countries. Topics range from non-verbal communication to holidays, current events to the economy.
Access this online country-specific resource though AFS’s subscription*
*AFS has a limited license for these materials. Please close the window when you are finished using CultureGrams so that others may do so.