Exchange students on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program
Kallapally Saikumar, a class 10 student from Telangana, will be traveling to the US in June, on the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, to live with an American host family and attend high school for a year.
"I had no inkling about the program, but fortunately my English teacher urged me to fill out the application," Saikumar told reporters. "This US scholarship opens a window to the world."
The student from the Telangana Social Welfare Residential School in small town Rukmapur travelled to Hyderabad for a series of tests to finally score a YES scholarship. According to Saikumar, he was tested on whether he had a good grasp of both written and spoken English. Once he made the shortlist, he moved onto participating in group discussions and debates.
Program at a glance
The YES program provides scholarships for high school students (ages 15-17 years) from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the United States.
Students live with host families, attend high school, engage in activities to learn about American society and values. In turn, the exchange students also educate their American classmates about their country in an attempt to dispel stereotypes about religion and culture.
Number of awards
Roughly 900 students travel to the US each year from 40 countries participating in the YES program.
The program is funded by the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational & Cultural Affairs.
US academic semester or a year
The scholarship is for citizens from 40 YES countries including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In order to apply, students should:
Be between the ages of 15-17 by the start of the program.
Beenrolled in the 8th, 9th, 10th or 11th grade at the time of application.
Have the equivalent of a B average or better without failing grades.
Meet US J-1 visa eligibility requirements (for instance, US citizens are not eligible for a J-1 visa).
More details of the program can be found here.
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