The U.S. Department of State offers four opportunities for students to travel and study abroad during the 2019-2020 school year. Students may apply for merit-based scholarships for these programs:
- National Security Language Initiative for Youth – Students can immerse themselves in Arabic, Hindi, Indonesian, Korean, Mandarin, Persian (Tajik), Russian or Turkish for a summer or an academic year while living with a host family and experiencing the local culture. The application deadline is Oct. 30.
- Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad – Students can live and study in the Middle East, Africa, Asia or the Balkans, learn Muslim culture firsthand and form lasting friendships with a host family and community. The application deadline is Dec. 4.
- Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange with Germany – Students can spend an academic year in Germany, living with a host family while attending high school or participating in an internship and experiencing German culture. The application deadline is Dec. 11.
- Youth Ambassadors – Students and adult mentors can take part in a three-week youth leadership program in Central America or South America during the summer months. Use Spanish language skills in Argentina, Chile or Uruguay or gain new skills in Portuguese through the Brazil exchange program. Application deadlines vary by country and are usually in October and November.
Scholarships include international airfare, tuition and programs costs, as well as meals and 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.