The Embassy is pleased to announce the opening of applications for the next round of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. This program is one of the preeminent U.S. government-funded exchange programs and is designed to expand communication between the people of the United States and the partner countries in the interest of promoting mutual understanding and respect. Students live with host families, attend high school, engage in activities to learn about American society and values, acquire leadership skills, and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures.
The goals of the program are:
- to promote a better understanding among youth from selected YES countries about American society, people, institutions, values, and culture;
- foster lasting personal ties;
- engage the exchange participants in activities that promote mutual understanding, respect for diversity, leadership skills, and an understanding of civil society during their exchange in the U.S.;
- enhance Americans’ understanding of foreign students’ countries and cultures;
- increase the capacity of organizations in participating countries to engage youth in activities that enhance mutual understanding, respect for diversity, leadership skills, and an understanding of civil society through alumni activities.
The YES program provides full scholarships for high school students (age 15-17 years) to attend an American high school for one academic year. Throughout the year, students live with a host family, engage in local activities, learn about American society and values, acquire skills, and showcase their own culture. Programmatic activities introduce students to the principles of civic education, civil society, rule of law, community service, and youth leadership as they are practiced in the United States. Simultaneously, American students learn about their classmates’ lives in the YES countries. Upon their return the students apply their leadership skills in their home countries.
The open competition for YES Bulgaria will take place ONLINE during the months of September and October 2017. Interested candidates who meet the eligibility requirements are invited to complete a preliminary online application located at https://ais.americancouncils.org/yes by the October 31, 2017 deadline. A selection committee will evaluate online applications and select semifinalists in November. Semifinalists will receive a longer application, take an English language proficiency test, write a composition, and be interviewed in person by American Councils staff. Applicants may apply only once online and may only take part in one interview.
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