Study of the United States Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Journalism and Media

Applications for this program are closed for this fiscal year. If you are interested in applying for the program in the future, we encourage you to apply again next year. Please, check our web site for the call for applications in November 2022.

2022 Study of the U.S. Institute for Student Leaders on Journalism and Media

SUSIs for Student Leaders 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.  Each Institute has 20 participants from different countries. Two principal and two alternate candidates from Bulgaria will be selected and nominated to compete for a slot on the Journalism and Media Institute. Selection at the international level is not guaranteed.

The Institute consists of a four-week academic residency with a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures.  Site visits, leadership development, cultural activities, and community service complement the coursework and academic sessions.  If conditions allow, the Institute will include a one-week integrated study tour in the United States.  The five-week program will take place in June, July, and August 2022.  The program will be hosted by Arizona State University.  Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the program will pivot to a modified virtual format. If the program must take place virtually, participants will engage in similar activities but online from their home countries.

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Journalism and Media will provide participants with a deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities for modern journalism.  The Institute will examine freedom of expression in democracy, leveraging multimedia tools, and exploring the role of journalists in promoting media literacy and preventing disinformation.  Academic sessions will examine First Amendment rights, fundamentals of multimedia journalism, compelling storytelling, editorial independence, journalistic ethics, legal constraints, civic journalism, media literacy, and digital and social media.  The Institute will encourage participants to analyze future trends in media as well as gain practical experience in the tradecraft of journalism, including building trust, interviewing, researching, writing, reporting, and editing.  Academic sessions will be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above. In addition to classroom activities, participants will meet with local news outlets and, travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the study tour. Should conditions allow, the SUSIs for Student Leaders from Europe will begin with an Opening Forum in Washington, D.C. bringing together participants in different institutes for networking, foundational leadership skills development, and exploring relevant topics from multi-regional perspectives.

All participant costs will be covered by the State Department.

Program Requirements and Restrictions: The institute is an intensive and rigorous academic program and selected candidates are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program. Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments.  Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.

English Language Ability: English Language proficiency is required to participate in this program.  Candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Therefore, candidate interviews will be conducted in English.

Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities. Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters. In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own.

Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.  Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible. Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines.

Health Benefits:  All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program.  ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States.

Travel Policy: Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the SUSI or remain in the United States after the end date.  Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the SUSI to visit relatives or friends while in the United States.  Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute. Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.

Virtual Program Contingency: Should health, safety, and travel conditions continue to pose significant challenges, the SUSI will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.  To the extent possible, the virtual programming would include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities.  Participants would be expected to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.

Connectivity: Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection. Participants will be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should notify immediately the host institution, post and/or commission of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.

CANDIDATE 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 may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.  Priority will be given to candidates with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of Europe.

Candidates applying for this program will need to:

  • demonstrate proficiency in English;
  • demonstrate interest in the Institute topic;
  • be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and be committed to returning to their home universities following completion of the program;
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement;
  • demonstrate commitment to community and university activities;
    have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of Europe;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive; be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel;
  • if the program is conducted in-person, 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; and,
  • if the program is conducted virtually, participants must have access to the internet.

HOW TO APPLY

In order to apply, please submit your completed application form and the personal statement in English by December 10, 2021 via e-mail to: SofiaEducationPrograms@state.gov

In the subject line, please inert the name of the institute for which you are applying.

Only short-listed applicants will be invited for an interview. Interviews will be held in January, 2022.

Application form available in the Additional Resources Section (top right of this page)