A year ago, thousands of AFS students suddenly learned that they would have to end their AFS experience due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While our Network has navigated many crises, this was the first time ever in our long history that we cancelled all of our programs everywhere to protect our participants. AFS staff and volunteers worked around the clock for weeks to make sure that each and every participant—almost 7,000 of them—made it home safely.

Here’s what AFS has done over the past year, and how our students, families and volunteers have kept the AFS mission alive during this time of global crisis.

Our exchanges are back across 50 countries in 2021, prioritizing our participants’ safety and well-being. Thanks to our robust support system, on-the-ground volunteer network, and agile country-by-country approach, over 2,000 students are now abroad and even more will join them soon. Find out more about AFS exchanges in 2021.

AFS quickly developed digital intercultural learning programs for thousands of students, teachers and volunteers. We partnered with renowned institutions like the University of Pennsylvania to shape curricula, governments like Education New Zealand rushed to adopt our programs, and companies like bp supported our online education for future STEM leaders. Thanks to our generous donors, we provided scholarships to many of these participants. In Malaysia, we partnered with MCIS and the Ministry of Education to provide Global Competence Certification to 100 Educators from all over the country. Explore our virtual programs.

Volunteers have been the core of AFS for more than 100 years. We were amazed by their commitment and passion to identify new ways to supercharge the AFS mission, support participants and families, and connect across the world to bring positive change to their communities. Once again, the power of AFS volunteers transformed lives and shaped communities. Discover some of the impressive initiatives our volunteers took worldwide.

Last year was extremely difficult, and many challenges still lie ahead. But AFS will continue to work each and every day to ensure that the AFS mission will thrive.