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Monday, August 11, 2014

Opportunity for Scholarship Through Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program in US

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program was established in October, 2002. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State, along with the U.S. exchange community, recognized the importance of youth exchange as a key component to building bridges between citizens of the U.S. and countries around the world, particularly those with significant Muslim populations. 
The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs (ECA) to provide scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to study for one academic year in the U.S


Please note that the following eligibility requirements are for the 2014-2015 program year. The 2015-2016 eligibility requirements are forthcoming.
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 15-18 by the start of program (August 1, 2014);
  • Preferably have a valid Philippine passport, or NSO authenticated birth certificate and DSWD independent travel clearance (for minors) (Note: these documents maybe submitted after being selected as finalist);
  • Be enrolled in a secondary school at the time of application; 
  • Be among the top 25% of academic performance in grade level;
  • Meet U.S. J-1 visa eligibility requirements (for instance, U.S. citizens are not eligible for J-1 visa);
  • Important Note: All immediate family members of AFS Philippines-administered sponsored programs scholars & alumni (ASEAN, ACCU-UNESCO, Akiko's Wish, Egypt educator, JENESYS, Kizuna, AFS INT Diversity, K-L YES, PYLP, AAI Journalism Grant, Kamenori, NEXT 50, HIroshima, corporate scholarships, among others) up to the first degree (by birth or by marriage), as well as AFS Philippines staff and board members up to the third degree (by birth or by marriage), are regretfully automatically disqualified to apply for any of the full scholarship exchange programs;
  • Be a citizen of the Philippines.

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. Students with disabilities must also meet the above eligibility requirements.

What costs are covered?
The YES scholarship covers costs related to:

• round-trip airfare from your home country to the United States;

• the cost of a 4-day Pre-Departure Orientation;

• placement with a U.S. host family for 10 to 11 months;

• a modest monthly stipend;

• health insurance; and

• the cost of program activities and materials.

What costs are not covered by the scholarship?
Some costs that you can expect to incur from your child’s participation in the program include costs associated with obtaining a passport, required medical examinations and immunizations, and extra pocket money while on program.

How will YES help my child prepare to go abroad?
YES provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the YES experience begins shortly after the finalists are selected, with weekly follow up by each YES program country office. Additionally, all YES finalists are required to attend a four day Pre-Departure Orientation where they cover relevant topics that they will face during the program year. At the Pre-Departure Orientation, they are given a student workbook and handbook, which is theirs to keep and contains the material covered in the Pre-Departure Orientation. Lastly, upon arrival to the United States, YES students attend an orientation in Washington, D.C. with YES students from other countries, where critical information is reviewed before the students depart for their host communities.

Application and Selection

Please note that the following application requirements are for the 2014-2015 program year. The 2015-2016 application requirements are forthcoming.
There are multiple rounds to the YES application and selection process. All applicants are required to take an English proficiency exam, write a proctored essay, complete a YES program application, and participate in group and individual in-person interviews. All finalists are selected on the basis of merit.
See below for country specific application and selection guidelines.