JFK Addresses AFS Students at the White House, 1963

Why we do what we do?

During World War I & II, young Americans served overseas as volunteer ambulance drivers in the American Field Service (AFS), transporting the wounded from the battlefields and helping to liberate concentration camp survivors. When they returned home, they founded a movement to promote peace through international student exchange, known today as AFS Intercultural Programs.

They knew what we also know: Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders.

The Core Values & Attributes of AFS

  • AFS enables people to act as responsible global citizens working for peace and understanding in a diverse world.
  • AFS seeks to affirm faith in the dignity and worth of every human being and of all nations and cultures. It encourages respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction as to race, sex, language, religion or social status.
  • AFS activities are based on our core values of dignity, respect for differences, harmony, sensitivity and tolerance.

The Mission of AFS

AFS is an international, voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organisation that provides intercultural learning opportunities to help people develop the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to create a more just and peaceful world.


AFS in Australia

AFS Australia is one of over 50 AFS offices around the world. We are the leader in intercultural learning and offer international exchange programs in more than 52 countries around the world through AFS run and facilitated programs, each of our destinations with a network of volunteers, a professionally staffed office, and headed up by a volunteer board.

AFS has been exchanging students throughout the world for over 52 years here in Australia, and over 60 years worldwide. That’s over five decades in Australia and six decades worldwide of history and experience in international education with an exemplary record of safety, security, and service to students, parents, and educators.


What does it mean to be an AFS Exchange Student?

It means you’re studying abroad with one of the most valued, reputable, and experienced leaders of high school student exchange in the world. AFS has 60 years of experience in international education with programs in more than 50 countries. And, it’s one of the largest, community-based, volunteer organisations in the world––that means volunteers committed to the AFS Mission who are working together to give you the best possible experience. These are just a few of the reasons why close to 13,000 students, young adults, and teachers choose AFS for their study abroad experience each year.

Why become an AFS Exchange Student now?

Living and studying abroad will prepare you for life in ways that no other experience can–you’ll learn more, gain more, and grow more than you thought possible. You’ll be making many important decisions soon. Do it with a “real world” view. Give yourself a competitive edge on university applications and resumes. When you return, you’ll become part of a prestigious international network of AFS Returnees whom you’ll make friends with throughout your life–wherever your life takes you.


Bigger than just you!

While you’re abroad with AFS, you will make friends with people in your host country and with other AFS Exchange Students from around the world. That is one way you support the AFS Mission of creating a world of understanding and peace. And when you return home, your journey begins anew: you become part of a worldwide network of AFS Returnees. That group includes business leaders, politicians, diplomats, educators, entertainers, scientists, journalists, and even an astronaut. Many credit their careers to the experience of living and studying abroad with AFS.


Support

Every year, close to 13,000 students, young adults and teachers choose to study abroad with AFS in more than 50 countries–places with programs, offices, staff, and trained and experienced AFS Volunteers. One of the reasons why AFS stands out from other exchange organisations is that AFS has one of the largest, volunteer-based networks of its kind in the world. AFS Volunteers will be there to help and support you.


Lifelong Connections

When you return home, you’ll be part of a worldwide network of more than 370,000 people who went abroad with AFS; more than 35,000 live here in Australia, while the rest live in more than 100 other countries. As you meet AFS Returnees throughout the world and throughout your life, they’ll share how their experiences helped to shape their lives—and you can share yours. Plus, don’t forget about the connections you’ll make with your host parents, host brothers or sisters, new friends, and other AFS Exchange Students on your program.


Would you like to know more about AFS?

We would love to be able to introduce AFS to you! Give us a call on 1300 131 736 and we can give you the contact details of you local volunteer who would love to meet up with you, and answer any questions you may have.