The U.S. Department of State recently announced scholarships for American high school students to study abroad. These merit-based scholarships include international airfare, tuition, and program costs, as well as meals and living accommodations (often with a host family). The programs have no language prerequisites, and gap year students are encouraged to apply as long as they meet the age requirements.
Each program has a separate online application process, with application deadlines varying from late October through early January:
- The National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) offers merit-based scholarships to study one of seven critical foreign languages: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian, and Turkish. The NSLI-Y program is designed to immerse participants in the cultural life of the host country, provide formal and informal language practice, and spark a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. The application deadline for summer 2016 and academic year 2016-17 programs is October 29, 2015. Visit www.nsliforyouth.org for more information.
- The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program offers merit-based scholarships to spend an academic year in countries that may include Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Turkey. This program increases understanding between people in the United States and people in countries with significant Muslim populations. Students live with host families, attend local high schools, do community service, and complete a capstone project. Applications for academic year 2016-17 programs are due December 1, 2015. Visit www.yes-abroad.org for more information.
- The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX) offers merit-based scholarships for an academic year in Germany. The program was established in 1983 to celebrate German-American friendship based on common values of democracy. Students live with host families, attend local schools, and participate in community life in Germany. For more information and application deadlines, visit the organization in charge of recruitment for your state atwww.usagermanyscholarship.org. Deadlines for U.S. applicants range from December 1, 2015 to January 15, 2016, depending on state of residency.