Unlocking Boundless Opportunities: The YES Program for High School Students in Kosovo

Category: Open Calls


YES_Recruitment Brochure_2023-24_ENGLISH_AC23YRE010_ONLINE_ 1.pdf

In the ever-expanding realm of international education and cultural exchange, opportunities abound for high school students to spread their wings and explore the world. One such remarkable opportunity is the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program. Established by the United States Congress in response to the events of September 11, 2001, the YES program presents an exciting avenue for high school students in Kosovo to experience the United States, foster cross-cultural understanding, and expand their horizons.

The YES Program: A Glimpse

The YES program is a fully-funded initiative by the United States government, administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State. It offers competitively selected secondary school students a scholarship to spend a year living in the U.S., alongside a volunteer host family and attending a U.S. high school. This program's primary objective is to nurture mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries across the globe.

Kosovo's high school students are fortunate to be part of this transformative initiative, which has already seen over 800 students from Southeast Europe embark on this life-changing journey by 2023.

Organizers Behind the YES Program

American Councils for International Education is the driving force behind the recruitment, selection, orientation, and travel arrangements for the YES program in Southeast Europe. Founded in 1974, American Councils is an international non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing mutual understanding between nations, fostering the exchange of ideas among individuals, and facilitating collaboration through education. Over four decades, they've created and supported numerous programs worldwide, providing countless opportunities for participants to learn, grow, and engage in cultural exchanges.

In addition to American Councils, several private, non-profit organizations in the United States also support the YES program, playing a crucial role in placing participants with supportive U.S. host families and organizing local activities throughout the year.

What the YES Scholarship Provides

The YES scholarship is an all-encompassing experience that offers numerous benefits, including:

Round-trip domestic and international travel from home to the United States and back.

A monthly allowance to support students in participating in social activities and buying necessary personal supplies.

Placement with a carefully selected and screened U.S. host family for an entire year.

Enrollment in a U.S. secondary school.

Comprehensive program orientation activities, including pre-program preparation and re-entry preparation.

Engaging program activities arranged in local U.S. communities.

Medical insurance, excluding pre-existing conditions and dental care.

These provisions ensure that students can make the most of their exchange year, both academically and personally.

Eligibility for Kosovo's High School Students

The YES scholarship competition is merit-based and open to applicants who meet the following criteria:

Meet the grade and age requirements set for Kosovo.

Be enrolled in and attending a secondary school in Kosovo at the time of application.

Maintain a good or better academic standing.

Demonstrate proficiency in English, which is essential for a successful exchange.

Meet U.S. visa eligibility requirements.

Be a citizen of Kosovo and able to receive an international passport in Kosovo.

The program encourages students with disabilities to apply, as they aim to ensure diversity and inclusivity within the YES program.

The Selection Process

The selection process for the YES program is rigorous but designed to identify the most deserving candidates. Students participate in multiple rounds of online competition, which ultimately leads to individual interviews, standardized English tests, essays, and the submission of their YES program applications.

Selection is based on merit and the student's readiness for a year-long exchange experience. While English-language proficiency is crucial, other factors also weigh into the selection process. Medical evaluations and overall fitness for program participation are assessed as well.

The Benefits of the Exchange Experience

The YES program offers high school students in Kosovo an array of benefits. Not only do participants learn about American culture, but they also become young ambassadors, sharing their own culture with their American host families and communities. This experience fosters personal growth, independence, and a deeper understanding of different cultures, preparing students for an interconnected world.

Moreover, students form lasting bonds with their American host families and communities, often leading to lifelong friendships. Many YES alumni have leveraged their experiences to gain admission to prestigious universities and secure exciting jobs that rely on the skills they developed during their time in the United States.

Important Considerations

Before applying to the YES program, students should weigh the potential challenges, such as:

The possibility of repeating a year of school upon returning home.

Timing concerns for final school examinations or university entrance examinations.

Implications for university or institute admission if already accepted.

Military service requirements upon return.

Graduation and honors eligibility at home school.

Additionally, students should be aware that the U.S. high school curriculum differs significantly from that in Kosovo, which means they may not cover the same subject material.

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In conclusion, the YES program is a remarkable opportunity for high school students in Kosovo to embark on a life-changing journey, expand their horizons, and build lasting connections with the United States. It's a chance to explore, learn, and grow in a supportive and enriching environment. As the program enters its 20th year, it continues to be a beacon of opportunity for young minds in Kosovo. Don't miss the chance to become part of this incredible exchange experience – apply to the YES program today and open the door to a world of possibilities. For more information and application details, please check the file.