AFS

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3.6 / 10 after 48 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.afsusa.org

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Never ever even think of an exchange with AFS. This organization is HORRIBLE. They are DISRESPECTFUL and VERY INHUMAN.

All they are after is your money! Every single thing they state on their website and on information evenings is a lie!

They do not care about the teenagers abroad at all, they do not choose families carefully (they just take anyone without checking anything), they don't offer any services abroad (no local chapter, no irregular meetings even), they will let your children suffer, they will make your children say that they are at fault (of whatever?!), put so much pressure on them until they will sign a paper, admitting that they broke the rules (pressure goes like that: if you don't admit we will send you back home immediately) and all of a sudden they will send you back home after some months anyway. This happened in China just now several times already to Germans, Italians, Swiss and other nationalities.

The back office in your country claims they will help and do the best they can and that you should trust them. But at the end AFS will send you a unilateral termination of the contract after some months and your child will just be returned home. But for sure they will keep all your money.

I never experienced such a horrible time in my life before, with AFS staff lying at me and behaving like robots but not as human beings, who are supposed to care about teenagers...

If you want to read more about my daughters horror trip go on facebook: stephanie clappier

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Posted: February 11, 2014
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: steph123
Age:
49

Comments

This dude's kid OBVIOUSLY did something they weren't supposed to while they were on program. AFS makes every student's family sign a Participation Agreement. I don't understand how people can put their signature on papers without even reading them, then get all up in arms when they do follow the agreement and get penalized for it. Don't pay thousands of dollars for your crappy kid to go abroad if they can't follow rules authority figures give to them. That's just common sense. Keep your problem child at home.
Joe's response sounds just like a response from AFS: trash the kid, trash the family, take their money. AFS is all about the money. It wouldn't surprise me if Joe is with AFS.
Don't jump to blame the kid. We DID sign the Participation Agreement and AFS USA has done everything they said, but AFS Costa Rica has done NOTHING that was expected. My daughter was there for three months before she even met the person from AFS to whom she was supposed to go to with any problems. The only group outings they went on cost hundreds of dollars and the school she was put in has been on strike, so she hasn't been going to school. I could have sent her to Costa Rica to live with a random family, not have anyone to call upon and not go to school for ALOT CHEAPER than the 13,000 I paid. And on top of that we had to purchase a ticket to get her home so she can be in school. Tell me how AFS is keeping their end of that participation agreement?
Hi Michelle, well that is exactly what my daughter had to go through as well, plus some other unbelievable things. AFS just doesn't care about more than money. They claim to be interested in our kids but they do not take ANY responsibility at any time. They leave everthing to a family they have not even checked before ... the more time passes the more I am shocked about about AFS
no parent is so stupid to send problem kids abroad, what should that be good for? no parent (who can afford to pay AFS) would act that simple minded as you describe things!
I totally understand how you feel!!! I had such a similar horrendous experience with another exhange organisation. They all seem to have same practises. After what my son and my family had to suffer witr Ciee:s high school plus program, I really would want to warn the people not to be fooled with all the promises these organisations make. They break their own rules and blame it on the students and send them home early unfairly without thinking what this might cause to a young person. All they want is your money. You can read our nightmare from these pages under Ciee.
I had a very similar horror experience with Ciee this year. You can read our nightmare from these pages under Ciee.

We had a horrible experience with AFS. AFS charges exorbitant fees to exchange students. Our AFS student from Germany told us she paid $20,000 for her year in the US. The money goes to pay AFS staff, but they give nothing in return. Once an AFS student arrives, the student knows that she/he can find a "better" deal with a different family and can immediately dump your family for no reason. If the student wants to move to a family they think is better, AFS will immediately move them to a new family, without reason, regardless of how much it hurts your family. All that is important to AFS is the fees the student pays. They are ruthless profitteers. An AFS student we know had her teacher make an announcement to her classes that she didn't like her host family, and she was looking for a new family. AFS immediately rewarded her by moving her to a different family the same day. When I was in high school in the 1970's, AFS had a good reputation. Not any more. There is a reason that AFS receives such terrible ratings on this site and others. AFS has turned into an exploitative organization. My advice is to STAY AWAY FROM AFS!

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Posted: November 17, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: FS2020
Age:
52

Comments

I have been begging AFS to refund us some of the money paid (6300 euros), as my son spent only a month abroad before he was sent home, and I have been begging them for more than a year because they claim to be a Non-Profit Organization, but without results. There is an isue that everybody seems to forget, which is, as a NGO, they receive huge amounts of money -funds- from all sorts of institutions in every country, but at the same time they charge heavy fees for their courses abroad: they have the best of both worlds. This is what I think, and this is what I explain to everybody who wants to hear it. And I am not going to give up on my claims.
Again, you signed a participation agreement to send your kid abroad. They broke the rules or did something to get sent home, you already knew you weren't going to get the money back if you read the papers you signed, did you not? Or maybe you just fork over thousands of dollars for the hell of it without knowing whether or not you'll be able to get your money back if something goes wrong.
True: We signed a participation agreement to send our kid abroad, but we never thought AFS would be so narrow minded, mean and greedy to send him back after one month abroad based only on suspicious and with no proof of their accusations, and If you follow all the comments I did about this issue you will see that I have only been begging this organisation to refund us some of the money paid, as we felt penalised as parents. And I have been begging them because they claim to be a Non.profit Organisation, which means that -theoretically- they are not going to make a profit with us. Of course, you defend them as being part of them, but we felt so cheated that we are not going to stop defending our point of view, and we are not going to give up.
Joe has a point: you better read the fine print when you deal with AFS! (Although Joe has no evidence to back up his allegation that the AFS "broke the rules or did something to get sent home") AFS's interest is in making maximum profits. They have volunteers do all of the day-to-day work. If something goes wrong, or if a kid just decides they found a "better" family, AFS will just send the kid to another family, or send him/her home and keep ALL of the money. Our student's family had to pay AFS $20,000. For what? We and the volunteers did all of the work. AFS is a huge ripoff. Beware!
Joe's response sounds like a typical response from AFS. Blame the kid, blame the parents, and then take all of their money.
Frank, I couldn't had put it better: that's exactly how we feel. They blamed us as parents, they blamed the kid, and they took all our money. Beware of AFS!

My recent experience has been catastrophic I had a double placement for this current academic year. According to their web page and all interviews I had I was only required to provide “bed, meals and same care as I do to my own children”. Well that is not the case with AFS, first none of my children are in public school so I was unaware of how the public system works in this city. After I got the register in school I find out they have to use public transportation to get back and forth to school and I that I to cover that expense as well. I refused to cover that expense and the expense of the all the school fees on top of a 600 per student for a two week trip for their fall break that was mandatory. To add on the school is refusing to work with one of my student to help her accomplish the requirement need it for her to be able to graduate in her country as soon as she return. After my frustration I proceed to call the liaison and complain to her explain what was going on. AFS decided it to remove the students because they were concern that if I can afford to pay for the bus fare then if they get sick how will a pay for their medical bill…Which bring me to the second point they come with health insurance, not really you as a parent have to pay for the bill then submitted for reimbursement. They also told me that they were concern that I didn’t have enough furniture in the house, I was not aware that luxury was part of the requirements. I have 3825 sq. house and the only things I don’t have are a formal dining room and living room set. I do have 4 fully equipment bedrooms, kitchen, eat in kitchen and family room. Also I can’t understand how a company that makes 3,000,940.00 a year and are worth 11, 364,486.00 can’t take care of these extra fees. I don’t mind taking the girl into my life I already made adjustment for the utility bills, groceries, gas and entertainment bills. I did not include all the extras that they try to tell me I signed on for. Is this just me or AFS is horrible company that just sees this kids as big $ , because the fees charged to their parents are astronomical they pay for the regular year plus an extra fee in case they need to go to a private school. Well I try to change them so I can drive them every morning but they refused and told me to stop searching for school that there were going to stay in that specific public one whether they like it or no.

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Posted: September 3, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
Age:
42

We were a host family for a 15 year girl from Germany. The experience in our home was great, but we never received regular contact from the organization as they promised to do at the beginning of the school year. Everything seemed alright until our student went on a weekend function at a beach house. There was an incident that occurred that gave me no choice but to contact CPS. Soon after the incident, the student was pulled from our home. They removed us from the Facebook group, which I thought was a kick in the teeth. I am seeking additional help to insure that this organization is held responsible for what occurred at the beach house, and the actions they took after the incident. Avoid AFS at all costs.

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Posted: August 9, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: droopy718
Age:
45

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

I had the misfortune of working for AFS-USA for a very short period of time and my opinion of that time is: You simply cannot run a business as if it’s a hippie commune in Haight Asbury during the “Summer of Love”.

A business needs constant waves of new ideas, goal settings, critical thinking and subtle and not-so-subtle changes to keep growing and expanding.

AFS-USA is run by people doing the same thing in the same way year after year. They are not bad people - just burnt out people. Some have been there over 25 years. Doing their jobs in the same style, at the same place, with the same folks. They not only have no interest or desire to change things, they are actively encouraged not too.

I could never understand the panic that would happen when they needed to make “goal” or the inability to comprehend when things went wrong. In an any major business , if a style becomes out of date , you change it, tweak it, fix it or remove it. You don’t just keep plugging away. At AFS-USA, they live for doing things exactly as they were taught some 35 years ago.

Hello? We have penicillin now. We have the Internet? HELLO?? This is not World War 1.

Also, while being a “non-profit”, I was shocked at the level of very “corporate” perks awarded certain individuals. This is a company that despises all things “Big Business” and applauds all things liberal and democratic. That’s great! Fly economy, then. Cut down on the amount of travel being done by staff to begin with. Is it really necessary to send a staff member to Paris to bring a “troubled teen” back to the States? That staff member gets free air-fare, a hotel and a decent semi-vacation…..for free..

From what the staff still there (they have laid off hundreds of people in a cost cutting scheme that again, sounds very “corporate” to me) says, it’s just a complete disaster and running on fumes.

Do yourself a favor. Send your kid around the world for his high school graduation present. Avoid this place.

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Posted: July 8, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: Tolstoy
Age:

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