Not all foreign exchange programs follow U.S. State Department guidelines, as does the all-volunteer, non-profit American Field Service, founded in 1947.
The AFS program has 250 former exchange students in Salt Lake City. The organization participates in hosting programs in 70 countries. Host families provide food, beds and a family environment for their students. Medical costs are covered by AFS, and an AFS volunteer may organize activities throughout the year to help the families and AFS students meet others in the program.Some for-profit organizations have left students stranded after they paid high fees for their year's experience. Host families in some such programs are paid $100 per month.
For those interested, the Council on Standards for International Education Travel has published a 104-page booklet, "Advisory List of International Travel and Exchange Programs, 1988," available for $5 from CSIET, 1906 Association Drive, Reston, Va. 22091.
- Prospective AFS students have until March 15 to apply for the 1989-90 school year. Host families are also needed for the Salt Lake area. Information about the program for students or host families can be obtained by calling 1-800-AFS-INFO.
Local AFS participants and other foreign students in the Salt Lake area will be attending a reunion of sorts this Friday. High school students who might be interested in the AFS program, and their parents and possible host families, are also invited to attend. A local high school band will provide the music at the annual AFS Greater Salt Lake AFS spaghetti dinner and dance from 6:30-11 p.m. Feb. 24 at the First Presbyterian Church, 12 C Street, Salt Lake City. An individual dinner is $5, or $20 for a family of four or more; the cost for the dance only is $3.
Donations to AFS are tax deductible. For further information, call Sherrill at 532-7772 or Gigi at 582-1102.