(203) 399-5079

Health and Safety

About the AIFS Foundation

The American Institute For Foreign Study Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit, 501 (c) (3) tax exempt public charity, and was established in 1967 with the assistance of the late Senator Robert Kennedy to help young people from many nations and diverse cultures to understand each other better. The AIFS Foundation partners with corporations and foundations to provide grants and scholarships for disadvantaged students to participate in study abroad programs.

For over 38 years, the AIFS Foundation has also sponsored the Academic Year in America program, which enables more than 600 international teens to spend a semester or academic year with an American family while attending a local high school. The AIFS Foundation is designated by the U.S. Department of State to issue the J-1 Exchange visitor visa for this program.

The AIFS Foundation has partners around the world and is proud of our reputation as one of the most respected student exchange organization in the U.S.  Visit our website at www.aifsfoundation.org.

Our Partnership with CISI Insurance

The AIFS Foundation partners with Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), a sister organization of the AIFS Foundation, and a world class provider of the most comprehensive student travel insurance available. For over 20 years, the AIFS Foundation and our participants have benefited from the immediate access and preferred support services provided by CISI.

The hallmark of CISI’s industry-leading reputation is the level of service provided during coverage periods. CISI offers 24/7/365 worldwide assistance services – a resource for everything from a lost passport to an emergency evacuation. With doctors and translators on staff, CISI’s services provide worldwide access to benefits, care providers and emergency assistance.

Program Safety

We take the welfare and safety of each and every participant on our program very seriously. Just as we work to provide a once-in-a-lifetime experience, we are equally committed to ensuring that all of our travelers return home safely.

Host families and GROW Abroad coordinators work within strict safety procedures to ensure participant safety in the host home, and while being transported to and from school, during tours and excursions, and other group activities.

Group Leader: A qualified adult, the AIFS Group Leader, will accompany each group of 10 participants on the trip. They will fly together to and from the New York area to Cape Town and will be with the group on activities. A member of the GROW Abroad Cape Town team will also accompany the group on activities.

Our Partner in South Africa – GROW Abroad South Africa

The team at GROW Abroad is close knit and shares a set of values that inform everything they do. They believe in working together with their partners overseas, host families, schools and local suppliers to give students the most memorable experience in their gorgeous part of the world. Check out their website at  https://growabroad.co.za/.


Many students maintain contact with family and friends back home through a blog, Facebook, What’sApp or other social media tools. During this two-week program, we encourage students to immerse themselves in the culture and to limit communications back home to reap more benefits from the experience.

Wifi is available in some host families' homes and in some schools, but is not guaranteed. Students should also know that the internet speed is generally not as fast as it is in the U.S.

South African SIM cards will be available upon your arrival at no cost with a short amount of airtime so you can immediately contact your natural family to let them know you have arrived safely. Students can then purchase additional data/airtime on their card – the cost is 1 gig for 150 Rand (@ $9.80). While this is good to have, we recommend that students refrain from contacting home too much so that they can more fully immerse themselves into their Live Learn Leadership experience.

In Case of Emergency

The AIFS Foundation is available 24/7. A team of professionals is available during work hours, and we maintain an emergency answering service after hours and on holidays and weekends that can put you in touch with a team member quickly.

GROW Abroad has a network of experienced staff who are trained and prepared to support students in-country.  The GROW Abroad staff are also available 24/7.  Students will receive emergency contact information while on program, so they will have someone they can contact 24/7 while on program.

Contact Us

For general information or questions:

Melanie French

AIFS Foundation
1 High Ridge Park
Stamford, CT 06905

After hours emergency:  1-800-926-2506

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