Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program 2021/2022

The 2021/2022 Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, funded by the U.S. Department of State, provides scholarships for secondary school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend one academic year in the United States.


Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

The U.S. Department of State established the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program in October 2002 in recognition of the importance of youth exchange as a key component to build bridges between citizens of the U.S. and countries around the world. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of State and provides scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to attend high school in the U.S., live with an American host family, and serve as “youth ambassadors” for their home countries.

YES students spend one academic semester in the U.S. from August to December 2021.

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program Eligibility

  • Applicants must be citizens and not dual citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., or eligible countries;
  • Candidates must be between 15 and 17 years of age on August 01, 2020; have a date of birth between August 1, 2003, and August 1, 2005
  • Candidates must be currently enrolled in grades 8-11 in any high school and/or college in their country.
  • Applicants must be proficient in written and spoken English at a level sufficient to engage in high school-level courses;
  • Students must have a B grade point average or better, without any failing grades in the present year, and past two years;
  • Applicants must be able to meet U.S. J1 visa eligibility requirements;
  • Neither parent works at the U.S. Mission (U.S. Embassy, USAID).
  • Be able to accurately present their culture in American schools and communities.
  • Be committed to returning to their home countries upon completion of the program and completing a two-year home residency requirement.
  • Demonstrate leadership skills.
  • Have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country.
  • Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel for one academic year.
  • Be prepared to adapt to American high school life and to live with an American host family.
  • 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 program; and, 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.

Eligible Countries:

  • Albania
  • Bahrain
  • Bangladesh
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Cameroon
  • Egypt
  • Gaza
  • Ghana
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Israel (Arab Communities)
  • Jordan
  • Kenya
  • Kosovo
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Malaysia
  • Mali
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Nigeria
  • North Macedonia
  • Pakistan
  • Philippines
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Tanzania
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • West Bank
  • Yemen

Value & Duration of Award:

  • Round-trip airfare from your home country to the United States.
  • The cost of a Pre-Departure Orientation.
  • Placement with a U.S. host family for 10 to 11 months.
  • A modest monthly stipend.
  • Health insurance.
  • The cost of program activities and materials

How to Apply for Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

Select your country here & apply

For more information, visit the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program.

Application Deadline: Varies by Country

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