Export

Between 1946 and 1950, with the exception of the six American French Fellows in France, AFS had concentrated all its efforts on hosting foreign students in the United States. The new field matrix was in fact promoting a "rites of passage" experience for visiting adolescents. After a year in the United States, they had become "AFS initiates", a number of whom would take the AFS "culture" back home with them.

When the bus trip stopped at Malabar Farm in June 1949, Louis Bromfield selected Our Little World (offered by Billy Lefakinis) from among the titles suggested for the bus-trip newspaper. Jean-Loup Piguet edited the one- and two-page paper, which was run off on a hectograph that spilled its purple ink along the remaining 4,723 miles of the trip.
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For the next two years, while in Paris at the Institute of Political Studies, Piguet continued to edit Our Little World quarterly, sending the copy to New York for printing and distribution.
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This spring issue of 1950 contained two other items of vital importance to show the new directions the International Scholarships program was taking. [...] François de Mey suggested that all AFS'ers in the neighboring countries meet for a few days that summer at Le Touquet-Paris Plage. The French AFS Committee announced that, through the hospitality of the French families, it had invited some American students from schools that had participated in the AFSIS program for at least two years to come to France that summer "to study the language and to learn the customs and life of the country."

George Rock, History of the American Field Service, 1920-1955. New York: Platen Press. 1956.

With the Old World still recovering from the War, the spread of the field matrix outside the United States would be limited to hosting during summer vacation only. Thus, between 1950 and 1957, AFS "exchanges" evolved in two quite different psychological contexts. On the one hand, Americans would continue to promote the hosting of foreign students, but now with the idea of a possible "reward" for particularly active high schools: selected students would henceforth be able to spend the summer with a family abroad.

The discrepancy in numbers of placements between the Winter Program and the Americans Abroad program is a constant source of difficulty, for however often we state that the AFS is not by precise definition an "exchange" program, each U.S.A. community receiving an overseas student is hopeful of being able to send one of its own abroad, and morale is hurt when this is not possible. Constantly we have to remind communities that their participation in AFS must not be premised on the regular expectancy of the placement of an Americans Abroad candidate, and that they should examine the inherent value of the Winter Program itself in determining whether or not participation is warranted.

Arthur Howe, quoted in W.P. Orrick, The First Thirty Years, AFS International Scholarships, 1947-1976, New York: AFS, 1991.

On the other hand, committees in other countries continued principally to recruit student participants for a scholarship year in the United States, but now with the added pressure of an annual campaign to find families to provide summer hospitality for Americans.

I am addressing this appeal, I would even call it an SOS, to ask you to immediately show your solidarity through campaigning to help find us French families to host our young Americans who should be arriving in France in a few weeks.

Here is the critical situation in which we find ourselves: for the summer program which begins on June 17th, we have only been able to find 16 families, only 8 through AFS, four of which had already hosted and four new families; 8 found outside AFS, including two who had already hosted --- whereas our objective was 60.

How can we remain indifferent or impassive before such a failure which runs the risk not only of putting us in a very embarrassing situation, but endangering the future of our programs?

Raymond Young, extract from a letter in the Bulletin de l'American Field Service en France, May 1960

Basically, the spread of AFS outside the United States had created conditions where the Field Service's previous experience with ambulance service and university fellowships was irrelevant to committees whose primary function was to "participate in the selection of students to benefit from the year's scholarship in the United States offered by the American Field Service." Winning a scholarship for study in America made sense. But providing free hospitality to visiting American youths made less sense. There is no reason that this bias should have changed in 1957, the year that Americans, too, began to participate in the Year Program. The field matrix had been exported, but into difficult conditions. Nonetheless, AFS continued to evolve --- its perspective primarily American --- as a series of bilateral exchanges between the United States and other countries.

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