Study of the United States Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Civic Engagement

Deadline for application: December 10, 2019

The U.S. Embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria is now accepting applications for the 2020 Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders on Civic Engagement.  The Institute will take place in early July and end in early August 2020. The embassy will select one principal and two alternate candidates to compete for slots on this program internationally.

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders from Europe are intensive short-term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills.  The Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders from Europe on Civic Engagement will provide participants with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups.  The academic program will define civic engagement, examine its development in the United States, and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism.  Other topics such as civil rights, entrepreneurship, ethics, leadership, and media will be discussed.  Students will also have the opportunity to leave the classroom to meet with community leaders, entrepreneurs, and representatives of non-profit organizations. The academic residency will be complemented by an educational tour that will take participants to another area of the U.S. where they will meet with local, state, private, and not-for-profit organizations working in the field.  The Institute will then conclude with a visit to Washington, D.C. The Institute on Civic Engagement will be hosted by the University of South Carolina, Columbia.

All participant costs will be covered. Housing will be in shared university dorms on campus with common bathrooms. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.

Applicants will be expected to participate fully in the program. They are expected to attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. Applicants should be aware that they are applying for an intensive institute and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.

Applicant Description and Qualifications:

The participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.  Their fields of study will be varied and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.

Candidates applying for this program should:

  • be Bulgarian nationals;
  • be proficient in English;
  • be interested in the Institute topic;
  • be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies;
  • demonstrate strong leadership;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • demonstrate commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
  • be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.

Applicant Statement: In order to get a better sense of potential participants’ motivations and goals, the US Embassy requests that each applicant provide a strong candidate statement that should convey why the participant is interested in participating in the Institute, what s/he expects to gain from the experience, and what s/he will bring to the program. Please observe the limit of 250 words.

In order to apply, please submit the completed Application Form and the Essay, indicating the program you are applying for in the subject line, by December 10, 2019 via e-mail to: SofiaEducationPrograms@state.gov

Interviews will be held in early January, 2020.