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

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The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, offers American high school students and recent graduates full scholarships to study for one academic year in countries with significant Muslim populations.

The YES Abroad program was initiated as a reciprocal extension of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program for international students from countries with significant Muslim populations. The first group of Americans participated in YES Abroad in the 2009-2010 academic year, living and studying in ten select YES countries. The program now offers 65 full scholarships to American students nationwide.

Living with a host family and attending a local school, YES Abroad students promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and the host country by forming lasting relationships with the local community. Participants attend a local high school, acquire leadership skills, and engage in activities to learn about the host country’s society and values; they also help educate others about American society and values.

How To Get Involved

The YES Abroad Capstone is a program component that provides participants with an opportunity to explore and develop a deeper understanding of their host culture or community. Students are free to select a relevant project topic and medium. Ultimately, at the end of the year each participant is asked to produce a tangible synthesis of his or her cultural exploration on program. Projects are generally performed during the second-half of the exchange year, and may be adjusted based on feasibility or cultural considerations.

Upon their return to the U.S., YES Abroad participants share their projects with their home communities, family, and friends to provide a window into their host culture. Past participants have been very creative in developing projects such as books, websites, photo essays, podcasts, videos, research essays, musical recordings, and even articles of clothing!

View stories about this dynamic component of the YES Abroad scholarship!

Program Impact

APPLY: International experience is more important now than ever before to be successful in our interdependent world. Participation in the YES Abroad program provides a unique scholarship experience to American high school students to build global awareness and intercultural competency. The skills that participants acquire enrich not only their lives, but the lives of their peers both inside and outside of the classroom. You can learn more about how to apply here.

RECOMMEND A STUDENT: YES Abroad appreciates the important role that educators play in fostering interest in global issues and encouraging students to participate in opportunities that expand their world. YES Abroad is grateful for the support that educators provide to students in their pursuit of knowledge of the world around them, both before and after their study abroad experience.

Educators are encouraged to spread awareness of YES Abroad to their schools and students. If you know any students who may be good candidates for a YES Abroad scholarship, nominate them using this form. We will follow up by sending you and the nominee information about how to apply for the program. You can also request materials and more information about the YES Abroad program.