AFSGPS Volunteer and Student Guidelines


Independent Travel Guidelines

Can a student graduate?


Host parents do have the right to sign for medical treatment




Any AFS'er who uses or possesses illegal drugs will be sent home immediately.


            Any AFS'er who drives an automobile will be sent home immediately.


            Any AFS'er who is caught hitch hiking will be sent home immediately.


            The legal age in the State of Washington  for drinking alcohol is 21.  All AFS'er in the Greater Puget Sound are under 21, therefore, all AFS student activities will be alcohol free.



            The AFS student must follow school attendance policy.  The student is responsible for following school policy concerning pre-arranged absences and make -up work when appropriate.


The AFS student must maintain a C average or 70% and complete all assignments in each class.  If any grade is below a C or 70% the student must have weekly signed progress reports from the teacher or teachers for a minimum of one month.  These progress reports are to be sent to the Area Support Chairman.  If students English proficiency is such as they cannot maintain a 70% and the school agrees AFS will accept a pass/fail grade.


            The AFS student must take a minimum of four (4) academic classes.  The student is required by AFS to take English and U.S. History or U.S. Government (unless the student's school requires a different social studies class) as two of the four required academic classes. 

Can My Student graduate?

In most school districts through out the state of Washington the answer is NO.  There have been exceptions, but AFS cannot guarantee that a student will graduate, and we will not contact the school and ask them to change their policy. 

To my knowledge there is no defined policy by the State Board of Education and most schools offer certificates of completion, but not graduation certificates.  The reason for the non-graduated status is generally the fact that Washington requires a certain number of credits to graduate.  A student cannot earn that number of credits in one year.  A student moving into a Washington school from another state in the US would be bringing a transcript with transferable credits; therefore they could graduate after attending just one year.  Exchange students do not bring transferable credits, as the educational systems are so different. 

 In the school where my students attend, Woodinville High School, in the North Shore School District, the District policy is to refuse to allow a exchange student to graduate, no matter what.  They will not even offer a certificate of completion, nor will they let them march in the graduation ceremony. 

If a students takes and passes all senior classes, most schools are willing to sign off an a transcript saying that the student did successfully complete the listed classes,(specifying that they are Senior classes).  The Transcript would have the school seal and would be signed by the principal.  In many cases the students in country school have accepted these transcripts and students have been able to continue on with their normal education process.

 We here at Greater Puget Sound tell all of the students we place that AFS GPS will not guarantee graduation, or a diploma, and if a diploma is a necessity, they should look to another Area.  Washington is pretty strict about the credits for graduation. 



Host parents may not sign as guardians for their exchange students to play sports or other activities.  Many of your students will want to play sports at school or on recreational teams.  If your student joins any team or club or organization where parent or guardian permission is required, it is the Natural Parents that must sign the form, or you must have their written signature (not an e-mail) giving you permission to sign for them. 

Your student will come with a permission form signed by natural parents for school activities.    Do not sign any school waivers as the guardian for your student to play school sports, sign as the host parent and give a copy of the signed waiver to the school with the form.  

If you student wants to do something requiring parent/guardian signatures that are not school related, please contact the AFS Regional Office in Portland.  They will contact AFS in country and make the arraignments to get a waiver for a specific activity.     Please give AFS at least 2 weeks to advance notice. 

Contact the AFS western Regional Office in Portland

1-800-866-2377 Ex. 111   This is AFS support and they can start the waiver process.

Host parents do have the right to sign for medical treatment for illness or injury.  Your student will bring with him/her a medical waiver signed by the natural parents.  This waiver gives AFS the authority to authorize treatment.  In the case of medical emergency or illness, you are considered AFS and may sign for treatment.



Talk to your students about money.   Money is always a sensitive issue.    Some families choose to pay for “everything” some families only pay for the “basics”, and most are somewhere in-between.  Be up front with your student about what you plan to pay for and what you expect them to pay for. 

AFS has sent you a Host Family Handbook.  Re-read the questions on pages 34 –39.  These are questions about family rules, safety and money.  PLEASE GO OVER THESE PAGES WITH YOUR STUDENT WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK THEY ARE WITH YOU.  Make sure they understand what things you expect them to pay fore.

SCHOOL LUNCH - When you offer to host an AFS student, you commit to room and board.  This includes school lunches.  Families need to provide a lunch either made at home or by paying for lunch at school.    If you offer to provide a home made lunch and the student does not wish to bring their lunch to school, then you have to the choice of paying for their lunch or advising them that it will be their responsibility. 

Student Responsibilities

The students come with spending money.  Some with a great deal of money, some with a bare minimum and again most are somewhere in-between.  As the economy here is different from home, they really do not have any idea how much things cost and how much money they will need and haw many things there are to spend their money on.