2024-2025 Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad (YES Abroad)

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad (YES Abroad) program is an initiative that was launched in 2002 by the United States Department of State. The program is aimed at promoting mutual understanding and cultural exchange between the United States and countries with significant Muslim populations. The program has been very successful in achieving its objectives and has been providing life-changing opportunities for American and international students alike.

The YES Abroad program allows American high school students to spend a year studying abroad in countries such as Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Turkey. Similarly, international high school students from these countries are given the opportunity to study in the United States for a year.

The program provides an excellent opportunity for students to experience a different culture and way of life while continuing their education. Students live with host families and attend local schools, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the culture of the country they are visiting. This experience helps students gain a deeper understanding of the world and the different perspectives that exist.

Eligibility Requirements

The Eligibility criteria for the 2024-2025 program include the following:

  • Applicant must be a U.S. citizen.
  • Applicant must be in grades 9-12 (high school, including home school) at the time of application.
  • You must meet age and GPA requirements specific to the program.
  • Must be born between December 30, 2004 – June 30, 2009.
  • The YES Abroad program welcomes applications from all U.S. citizens regardless of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, geographic location, socioeconomic status, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  • Applicants of all grade-point averages and academic performance are encouraged to apply.

In addition to the above eligibility criteria, the following additional Eligibility Information must also be noted:

Strong selection preference is given to those who have not previously participated in one of the exchange programs listed below or lived abroad for six months or more during the past five years. This eligibility policy applies to the following programs, which take place outside the United States:  

  • Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES Abroad) 
  • National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y) 
  • Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX) 
  • Youth Leadership Program (participants who traveled overseas only) 
  • Youth Ambassadors Program 

The above listed criteria is to ensure that ECA represent the diversity of America in these youth exchange programs and to make sure the selection process is fair and transparent.


December 08, 2023

Benefits of the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad (YES Abroad)

The YES Abroad scholarship covers costs related to: round-trip airfare, room and board for the Pre-Departure Orientation; round-trip airfare between the participant’s home region and community abroad; in-country support; cultural activities; school tuition (where applicable); room and board with a host family; secondary medical benefits; visa fees; and a modest stipend.


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