The COVID-19 pandemic is calling for an agile response to changed realities. AFS is well-prepared to run study abroad programs with a robust risk management and support system in place, and we are fortunate to have already laid the groundwork for transformative change well before COVID-19.

2020 AFS Study Abroad Programs Start

AFS programs will run in countries where health and safety conditions allow, and student visas are possible. We observe the continually changing situation on a daily basis and are in very close contact with our member organizations.

AFS exchange programs are currently running or about to begin in the following countries, with more destinations regularly added to this list: 

Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France (certain regions only), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan (Asia Kakehashi program only), Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, and the USA (certain states only).


How AFS Keeps Our Participants Safe

As a global network of organizations, AFS is actively re-assessing conditions for study abroad programs on a country-by-country basis. The safety and well-being of our participants remain our number one priority. We are closely monitoring health and travel recommendations from authorities, as well as receiving information from our robust, on-the-ground volunteer network. We pledge to be nimble and responsive to circumstances as they change.

Some countries may require a later program start date than originally planned. Moreover, either because of safety restrictions or a lingering economic impact, we may not be able to run our programs in all countries. If planned abroad experiences must change, we will let our participants know as soon as we are able. We will do all we can to offer alternative destinations and programs.


Participant safety and well-being remain our number one priority. As a global network of organizations, AFS is actively re-assessing the conditions on a country-by-country basis, and will continue to do so throughout the duration of the program. We will determine how well AFS can continue to support participants on the program in case of another outbreak, and assess if the program can continue in the best interest of the participants’ safety.

AFS COVID-19 Response So Far

Early in March 2020, some 7,000 students had to end their AFS study abroad programs early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. AFS volunteers and staff around the world worked day and night to reunite participants with their families in their home countries and continued to provide all program support and services to those participants who remained under the care of host families before returning home. AFS rapidly reconfigured and deployed a virtual learning platform, based on our AFS Global Competence Certificate, to provide those thousands of young people with ongoing support, community and learning during the crisis.