Teachers and school administrators can give students an advantage in college applications by encouraging them to study abroad. Having an AFS school year, semester, summer or service program on their application will get attention. The experience demonstrates foreign language skills and a commitment to extracurricular activity, and, perhaps more importantly, it demonstrates independence and reliance. It show a readiness to succeed in a new setting and a ability to understand and communicate about international and intercultural issues.
"In Italy, as in many other parts of the world, Carnival is a huge, month-long celebration. As it happens, Venice holds one of the most beautiful Carnival celebrations out there. I had been told that our local AFS region would be going to this grand celebration, so when my host mom broke the news that they were planning a rip-off Carnival in a tiny city nearby, I knew that was not going to work for me. I had only one Carnival in Italy, and I was going to do it right."
"However, despite how amazing Lititz is, I am in no hurry to come home. In fact, I will be gone for another eight months. I am spending this year "living it up" as an exchange student in the most beautiful country in Europe. That would be Italy. For this, I might be one of the luckiest young ladies in the world. I owe a huge thank-you to the Speedwell Foundation, who provided full-scholarships for three Warwick High School students, including myself, to become ambassadors for the U.S. through American Field Service (AFS)."
Forty years later, Jenny Messner’s year studying abroad with AFS-USA still shapes her life in ways she never could have imagined. Fluent in Portuguese, with a successful career in international banking behind her, she now helps local teenagers, like she once was, have the same opportunity to have a life-changing AFS experience abroad.