District Mail

Be­come an ex­change stu­dent in the USA

- Tas­min Cupido South Africa News · Society · United States of America · South Africa · U.S. State Department · New York City · Netherlands · Gordon · Somerset

HELDERBERG – Youths from the basin have the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for an in­ter-cul­tural learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence abroad thanks to an ex­change pro­gramme pre­sented by AFS In­ter­cul­ture South Africa.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion, which boasts 23 chap­ters across the coun­try, in­clud­ing one in Som­er­set West, is cur­rently re­cruit­ing can­di­dates for the Kennedy Lu­gar Youth Ex­change and Study pro­gramme (KL-YES). The se­lected learn­ers will travel to and live in the US from next Au­gust to June 2022 on a full schol­ar­ship by the US De­part­ment of State.

The KL-YES pro­gramme was founded fol­low­ing the 9/11 tragedy in New York in 2001, ex­plained AFS In­ter­cul­ture SA vol­un­teer Mary van der Merwe. Close to 200 South Africans have ben­e­fited from the ini­tia­tive, in­clud­ing learn­ers from Parel Vallei, Hot­ten­tots-Hol­land and Gor­don high schools.

“AFS In­ter­cul­ture SA has been send­ing and host­ing stu­dents on paid school ex­changes since its for­ma­tion in 1958,” the Som­er­set West res­i­dent re­lated. “The ex­change ex­pe­ri­ence en­hances [par­tic­i­pants’] in­de­pen­dence and self re­liance, fos­ters un­der­stand­ing and in­ter­cul­tural learn­ing, teaches mul­ti­ple com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and fa­cil­i­tates an ex­change of ideas from around the world.”

Dur­ing their time abroad, the stu­dents will re­side with host fam­i­lies, at­tend a lo­cal high school and learn about the im­por­tance of build­ing a com­mu­nity spirit and vol­un­teerism through 50 to 100 hours of com­pul­sory com­mu­nity ser­vice of their choice. On their re­turn they are ex­pected to con­tinue this vol­un­teerism to give back to their com­mu­ni­ties.

Fif­teen stu­dents from across SA will be se­lected to par­tic­i­pate in next year’s pro­gramme.

In­ter­ested youths will need to ap­ply on­line, par­tic­i­pate in a range of se­lec­tion ac­tiv­i­ties and avail them­selves for home in­ter­views. “We will have to ad­just our prepa­ra­tion and train­ing pro­cesses to en­sure so­cial dis­tanc­ing is main­tained,” Van der Merwe said.

In­ter­ested learn­ers must be born be­tween 1 Jan­uary 2004 and 1 Au­gust 2006, and be in Grade 9, 10 or 11. They must be South African cit­i­zens, be able to pro­vide per­ma­nent res­i­dency doc­u­men­ta­tion or have lived in the coun­try for the last two-and-a-half years.

Aca­dem­i­cally, can­di­dates need to have achieved a grade av­er­age of 70% or more, and not have achieved be­low 50% in a sub­ject dur­ing the last three years.

They must be well-rounded, ac­tive, adapt­able, able to han­dle be­ing away from home and cope with the un­ex­pected. They must pro­vide school re­ports from Jan­uary 2018 un­til present and be able to pay for an in­ten­sive med­i­cal re­port.

All com­mu­ni­ca­tion is done via email and suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants must pro­vide an unabridged birth cer­tifi­cate and a pass­port by next March.

Ap­pli­ca­tion forms can be found on­line through www.afs.org.za and must be sub­mit­ted on or be­fore Fri­day 28


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