Frequently Asked Questions

There are quite some questions we are asked again and again in our work. That's why we've collected them and answered them here. If you didn't find sufficient answers, feel free to get in touch.

You can find this here:

Do you want to go abroad and have questions about anything? Then you may find questions and answers here:

Did you receive a placement with a rainbow host family? You can read here how it all works:

Can you imagine becoming a rainbow host family? You can find answers to questions you may have asked yourself here:

Information about QueerExchange can be found here:


Are you queer and want to get up and away?

I am bi-, pan- or homosexual and want to go abroad.
That's great and we are very happy!

Do I have to, should or can I address my sexual orientation in my application?
This is not a must and above all not a should! If you think that your sexual orientation is a natural part of you and it should not be missing in your first self-description, you are welcome to address this part of your identity in your application. If you think that this is noone's business for now or doesn't matter in your life, then don't.

As soon as you have been accepted to participate in the program, you have to write extensive descriptions about yourself in English, which are then sent to the partner country and used to find a family for you locally. The same question may then arise again. If you are unsure, Get in touch and we'll discuss the matter together!

Are there country restrictions for openly bi-, pan- or homosexual people or do you give country recommendations?
Since we also offer countries in the program where bi-, pan- and homosexuality are unfortunately punishable, we deal intensively with this question. So far there has been no official statement - neither from AFS Germany nor from any other AFS partner country. In principle, we cannot and do not want to advise anyone against a preferred country for this reason. However, since we have close contacts with the AFS people in the partner countries and know about the experience of those who have returned from all countries, we are in a very good position to give tips when choosing a country. Get in touch !

I am trans or non-binary and want to go abroad.
We think that's great! With trans or non-binary people, however, there are some formal hurdles that need to be overcome. Above all, these are questions that revolve around a possible Change of civil status, the therapeutic support required by law as well as concrete issues in medical care.

First you should take a look at our Special Editions, in which we have summarized and answered some of the most important questions and information. Here on our website you can find these documents and download them. If you need any additional information or have any questions, Get in touch , so that we can talk about possibilities and options together.

Where do you want to go
Find out about the legal situation of queer people in your preferred country, e.g. at ILGA, TGEU, Queeramnesty or the German Foreign Office. For experiences in AFS programs, Get in touch .


Host an exchange student or volunteer as a rainbow family

We are a gay couple. Can we also be host family?
Yes, of course! In general, the only formal requirement is a separate bed for the host child. Motivation for intercultural learning and a little time at the beginning of the year are helpful so that one or the other hurdle can be overcome together. Further information on the subject of host families can also be found in the article “One like none”, which appeared in our association's magazine HORIZONTE in 2012.

It doesn't matter whether you are an old or young couple, with or without children, in a house or apartment, with a cat or without foreign language skills - we are happy about every willingness to host someone. In formal terms, rainbow host families are so-called “non-traditional placements”. This means that the placement is suggested to the exchange student or volunteer and their family and they can then decide whether to accept the invitation. Based on the experience of the last few years, this serves to protect both sides. After all, no one wants a child to come reluctantly, but to gladly accept the placement as it is!

How does it all work?
Each interested family fills out the form with their general information, describes their family life on an A4 page, adds a few recent photos and sends everything to the AFS office. Then there's a visit by volunteers from the local committee, who usually have one or two hosting profiles up their sleeves. At this occasion, open questions and organizational matters are clarified (dos and don'ts for everyone involved) and the volunteers are interested in family activities and local peculiarities.

Once the host family has decided to host someone and AFS Germany has contacted the prospective host child or volunteer and their family through the AFS office in the partner country, there will be a reply. this point can either be where the adventure of being a host family begins (perhaps with an e-mail?) or it can be followed by another attempt with a different hosting profile.

Are there also openly queer guest children?
Unfortunately, in many countries around the world, dealing openly with a sexual and/or gender identity that deviates from the cishetero norm is anything but a matter of course. Therefore, it is rather the exception to explicitly convey queer guest children as such. According to our observations, however, the number of young people who have already been out at the time of their application is increasing.


Being hosted by a rainbow family

I was offered a rainbow hosting. What do I do now?
First of all, you and your biological family now have the opportunity to read the documents of the host family and be happy about the interest in you! Do you have the same interests or hobbies? Is there an instrument or pet you would like to have? Of course, the documents can only describe a part of what belongs to an overall picture. Therefore, if you have specific questions in the decision-making process, don't be afraid to pass your questions on to the AFS office. The host families will be happy to tell you more about their lives. The aspect that makes the family members a non-traditional placement usually fades into the background on closer inspection and hopefully you then have a genuine interest in the people.

Where can rainbow host families be found or from which AFS partner countries is the inquiry?
Most rainbow host families are found in the USA. The experience of the last few years shows that there are more male couples than female ones. Like all families, they are very diverse: from their early 30s to their late 50s, in downtown Seattle, on a farm in Kansas or in a suburb of Washington DC. It's all there! There have also been inquiries from Brazil as to whether a child could imagine being hosted by a rainbow host family.

How often are there such placements?
In recent years there have been about five rainbow host families per year. In the early years of placements in rainbow host families, the AFS office had to reach out to many children and their families. In recent years, children and their families have been more willing to accept “non-traditional placement” and for some time have been able to state this acceptance explicitly in their profiles.

More information on the topic of host families in the article “One like none”, which appeared in our association's magazine HORIZONTE in 2012.


QueerExchange

How long has QueerExchange been around?
QueerExchange was founded in spring 2010. However, the first ideas for such a group were discussed as early as the mid-1990s.

Who is interested in it or who is the target group?
QueerExchange is for everyone! For people who deal with questions about sexual orientation and gender identity as well as intercultural exchange. For all those who need information, advice or come up against limits because something presents itself as “queer”. In short: for queer people and their allies in international youth exchange!

You can find more over at “About QueerExchange”,“The QueerExchange Team” and “What We Are Doing”.