High School Student Exchange Program Grants
The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) funds a number of prestigious high school exchange scholarships. Since 1997, CIEE has had the honor and privilege of administering several of these programs. Through this initiative, students who might not otherwise have access to the benefits of studying abroad get a chance to study in the United States. Each program has diplomatic goals that align closely with CIEE’s mission to increase cultural understanding.
Read all about the adventures of our current CBYX scholarship recipients
Students work hard to participate in these highly competitive programs; in the case of the Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), for example, only one in 10 applicants earns a scholarship. Those who qualify are extraordinary individuals. They’re highly motivated to excel at academics, sports, and service. Scholarship-students are expected to meet certain requirements during their visits, including undertaking extensive community service and participating in activities that align with the program’s goals.
Students interested in applying for Future Leaders Exchange or Youth Exchange and Study (YES) grants should contact these programs directly. Prospective Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) participants can apply directly through CIEE. Schools and families are encouraged to contact CIEE for more information about hosting scholarship-students.
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX)
Since 1983, CBYX has enabled more than 17,000 students to participate in exchange between the United States and Germany, thanks to shared funding by the U.S. Congress and Bundestag, the German National Parliament. The scholarship’s intent is to build a stronger relationship between the two countries by nurturing youth leadership. The CBYX scholarship enables 300 students coming to the United States from Germany, and 250 American students traveling to Germany, to live with host families and study abroad for one year.
CBYX is a great example of a successful, ongoing diplomatic partnership between the United States and Germany. After many years, the grant continues to provide highly motivated German students insight into the United States beyond what they learn from the media. It’s no easy feat to win this honor. In addition to a rigorous application process, Congress-Bundestag students are interviewed and selected by their parliament member and have just a 1 in 33 chance of being awarded the scholarship.
CIEE operates the outbound CBYX program together with Experiment e.V., an international exchange organization based in Bonn, Germany. CIEE is one of five U.S. student-selection organizations, administering 50 highly competitive scholarships to high school students from the American southeast. CIEE works exclusively with students from Puerto Rico and the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
American students who win CBYX scholarships become fluent in German, learn about the country’s culture, and expand their horizons. To help them achieve these goals, students plan and complete projects that focus on what it means to be a U.S. youth ambassador.
Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX)
FLEX was created in 1992 out of the belief that the best way to ensure long-lasting peace and understanding between the United States and countries from the former Soviet Union is to enable young people to learn about democracy through international exchange. The program offers students from 11 Eurasian countries an opportunity to live and learn in the United States for one year. CIEE helps to advance the goals of FLEX by welcoming scholarship recipients to the United States for study and cultural exchange.
FLEX students explore ideals such as free enterprise, volunteerism, and diversity and learn firsthand about United States government and culture. They then become youth ambassadors, sharing their traditions and world views with their American host families and communities.
Youth Exchange and Study (YES)
In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, YES set forth on a mission to build bridges of understanding and tolerance between the United States and the countries and cultures of the Arab and Muslim world. The program provides full scholarships for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend an academic year in the United States. YES encourages the exchange of ideas, values, and experiences between young people by exposing them to leadership-belief systems, civil-society principles, and community service.
YES students live with host families, attend high school, and acquire leadership skills through community service projects. They teach their American counterparts about their home countries and culture, and in doing so, tell their personal stories while they experience American high schools.