Become an exchange student in the USA
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