YES Program Say “Yes” to YES!
From the 1st of August, you can apply again for the 2024-25 YES program.
NEW! for the program year 2024-25: Subscribe to receive YES Application Announcements by email. Be among the first to know when YES recruitment begins! Use your existing YES account or create a new one, then log in to complete your subscription. NOTE: You are not required to subscribe to the Announcement Email List to participate in the YES program.
Apply here: ais.americancouncils.org/yes
Funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, this program helps students to foster lasting personal ties, engage in activities that promote mutual understanding across cultures, respect diversity, establish leadership skills, and understand civil society. At the same time, YES students help their American classmates enhance their understanding of foreign countries and cultures.
The Kennedy-Lugar YES program was established by Congress in October 2002 in response to the events of September 11, 2001. Since then, YES has impacted more than 13,000 students from 45 countries. The reciprocal Kennedy-Lugar YES Abroad program opened for American students in 2009.
The program officially launched in Bulgaria in 2009 in hopes of expanding communication between the people of the United States and Bulgaria in order to promote mutual understanding and respect. Since then, 107 Bulgarian students have completed the YES program and now participate as alumni.
The YES program is administered in partnership with the United States Department of State by a consortium of nonprofit organizations led by the American Councils for International Education and includes numerous placement and recruitment organizations.
In keeping with the U.S. Government-sponsored initiatives, dedicated to democratic reform, the competition for the Youth Exchange and Study scholarship is merit-based and open at no cost to all applicants who meet the following requirements:
- Be between the ages of 15-17 (be born between January 1, 2007 and July 15, 2009) by the start of the program (August 15, 2024);
- Be enrolled in 9th or 10th grade of high school at the time of application;
- Be enrolled in a secondary school in Bulgaria at the time of application and not have graduated from secondary school prior to the program start date;
- Have the equivalent of a B average or better without failing grades;
- Have not spent more than a total of 90 days in the U.S. in the last five years;
- Meet U.S. J-1 visa eligibility requirements (for instance, U.S. citizens are not eligible for J-1 visa);
- Be a citizen of Bulgaria.
Students with Disabilities
The program can support students with disabilities and encourages their participation. The Department of State and the YES program work with Mobility International (MIUSA) to provide students with disabilities leadership-building workshops, appropriate information, and support as needed to enhance their year in America. Applicants with disabilities are encouraged to contact their YES office for details on eligibility.
Students with disabilities must be enrolled in secondary school in the fall of 2023 and be born between February 15, 2006, and July 15, 2009.