Study Abroad Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for this programme?
All students aged between 15 and 17 are eligible to apply for this program. If you are currently in Form 3, 4 or 5, we will consider your application if we receive the form before the closing date. You do not need to be the best academically as we are looking for people who are able to adapt, are open and willing to share their culture as well as learn a new one.

Will I be the perfect exchange student?
There is no such thing as a perfect exchange student, but there are some pretty basic criteria you need to meet for our minimum acceptance criteria.

As with any type of program around, there are specific eligibility criteria you need to fit into to be able to participate in one of our programs! Some countries may also have more specific criteria, all of this information can be found on the individual country information.

Make sure you do your research and fit the required eligibility criteria. We have many applicants who did not do the required and went on to complete the application, just to find out they are not eligible.

Here's our minimum acceptance criteria:

Please note this is a general guide and some countries may have more strict or flexible criteria, which can be found on the individual country pages.

  • Aged between 15 - 17 on date of departure (some destinations have more specific age limits)
  • Still be at school whilst in the application process
  • Be in good physical and mental health
  • Be open minded, mature and ready for a challenge
  • Have maintained at least a B grade average or equivalent at school (some destinations have higher requirement for academic results)
  • Be prepared to continue your schooling in a foreign country, and be committed to learn the language
  • Be adaptable, responsible and flexible
  • Be a keen learner and experience the world!
  • Believe and understand the mission of AFS; become a global citizen by going on one of our programs.

Should you have any questions regarding eligibility, contact the AFS Office or your local volunteers for more information. You may also email us at

Why is the cost so high?

It is important to know what is and is not included in the AFS program fee. Costs for each exchange varies depending on program duration and the country you are applying for.

Our price is based around making the exchange process as simple as possible for our participants. We try to bundle as much value into the one fee to make it easy for you.

Costs paid to the Host Country and AFS International are in US Dollars.

The program fees cover:-

  • Return Flight including departure tax
  • International Insurance for the whole program duration
  • Pre-Departure Camp & Post Return Camp in Malaysia
  • Arrival Camp, Delayed Orientation, End of Stay Camp & other activities in Host Country
  • Any travel cost incurred from airport to host family. From host family to any camp sites
  • 24 hour Emergency Support while in Host Country
  • Medical Coverage
  • Schooling
  • Screening of Host Families
  • Administrative Cost & International Communication Cost
  • Providing skills to volunteers to ensure your child’s well being during the program
  • 6% Malaysian GST

What are you responsible for?

  • Domestic travel to and from your hometown to the closest assigned international point of departure.
  • Visa and passport fees as well as any travel costs for an in-person appearance at a consulate or embassy, if required by your host country’s student visa application process. Visa-related costs vary by country
  • School uniform, non compulsory subjects at school and school stationery
  • Spending money for personal expenses, such as gifts, long-distance calls, going out with friends, pocket money, etc. Depending on the cost of living in your host country, we recommend you budget between US$150-US$400 per month
  • Any other costs that may come up throughout the AFS experience

Are there scholarships available? How can I apply?

Yes, there are scholarships available. Please go to our Scholarships Section to find out what scholarships there are and how to apply for them.

What will happen if I am selected to go on AFS and also selected to go to the National Service?
You need to inform AFS immediately, we will then send a letter of appeal to our Ministry of Defence. So far exemptions have been granted but you would still need to go for National Service Training after your return. AFS is not a means for you to skip your National Service.

If I go on the Intensive 2 month programme in December, I will then miss 1 month of school. Will that affect my school attendance?

No, it will not affect your school attendance. However, you will need to inform your school that you will be participating in this program. AFS will send a support letter to your school and to the Ministry of Education (MOE) to inform that you are participating in the program, therefore you will be excused from school during the time of the program.

If I go on the Year programme, what happens if I am offered to go to Lower Six/ University or a Government Scholarship?

If you are accepted to go to Lower Six, please inform your parents to notify AFS immediately. AFS will send a letter to school & MOE to request for a deferment for a place the following year.

We highly encourage that you apply for University or College upon your return from the program.

If you are offered a government scholarship, please inform your parents to notify AFS. AFS will try to assist and support by giving a letter to defer your scholarship to the following year. Please note that Universities and Colleges are not under the administration of the MOE. Therefore, our assistance is limited.

We strongly encourage students to complete their AFS year and not come home halfway and abandon the program. This is not a good reflection of you and AFS in Malaysia.

Each country is given a quota and if a student drops out at any point during the program, that may jeopardize the given quota the following year. Please be considerate of other students that would have appreciated the AFS experience but were not selected to go on the program.

If selected to go on AFS Programs, please consider all your options carefully and have an honest chat about this opportunity with your parents/family.

How does AFS select host families?

Interested host families will apply to AFS in order to host. Once AFS receives the application form, our professionally trained volunteers will make an appointment to interview the host families at their home. Families will be screened according to AFS Selection Criteria.

Only families that satisfy the criteria will be approved to host an exchange student. Please note that host family placements are done by the host country.

Parents may ask ‘How can I be sure my child is safe with a stranger’?

All selected AFS host-families have been screened thoroughly. Host families will be matched with students based on their compatibility. Host families will be advised and given orientation on becoming a host family. These families are advised to care for the hosted student like their own child.

Local Chapters in their area will monitor their (both host family and participant’s) progress, development and safety. Each student will be assigned to a liaison person/counsellor for them to confide in.

Local Chapters in their area will monitor their (both host family’s and participant’s) progress, development and safety. Each student will be assigned to a liaison person/counsellor for them to confide in.

When can I apply? Are there any extensions ?

Recruitment period is from Jan - April every year. No late applications would be accepted as the interviews are conducted during the month of May/June. If there are any extensions, it will be announced on AFS website or social media platforms.

Can I go on AFS and study at the same time?

AFS is an intercultural learning exchange programme and not a study program. You would be able to gain knowledge such as intercultural skills, communication skills as well as learn to be more independent by going on this program.

However, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to complete your A-Levels or STPM equivalent when you go on this program.

Most of our returnees return to Malaysia to do their A-Levels or Form 6 a year later. If your objective is to explore the world and expand your horizons, then this is the right program for you.

I have submitted my form but have not received a reply. What should I do?
If you have submitted your form, you should be called up for an interview latest by May. After the interview, you would be notified if you are successful or otherwise.

If you have not received any form of reply, chances are your application is under consideration (KIV).

Please do contact the AFS Office if you need further clarification or have not received any reply from us.

I am currently studying in College / University / Form 6. Can I apply?

Unfortunately, our programs is only open to Form 3 - Form 5 students (15-17 years old).

If you are currently doing your Form 6 and you are under 18, you may try to apply for the Intensive Program.

For more information on these programs, please contact AFS Office or email

I am asked to submit my past 2 year school results? What does this mean?
Depends on the age group you are in, you are expected to submit either mid-term or final exam results. We advise you to submit all results if possible. If any of the paperwork is missing, our staff will contact you accordingly.

For e.g.: If you are in Form 3, then you will need to submit school results of Form 1 & Form 2. If you are in Form 4, then you will need to submit school results of Form 2 & Form 3. If you are in Form 5, then you will need to submit school results of Form 3 & Form 4.

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