The American authorities are interested in attracting talented youth from all over the world to their country. For this, there are free exchange programs for students, where the child has the opportunity to improve language skills and gain invaluable experience.
A program in which students take an active part. With its help, participants can live and study in the United States for a year. Applications are accepted until the end of autumn after the admission ends and prepare for the selection of candidates begins. All participants are selected in February-March, which consists of three stages:
At the very beginning, all candidates take a 15-minute language proficiency test.
The second stage also includes an English proficiency test. Besides, participants need to write 3 essays using their native language.
The last test is to interview the organizers of the competition. Students will also have to write 2 more additional essays.
After passing all the stages, in April the organizers form the final list based on the results. To get out of which in the future is possible only because of the non-receipt of a visa, as well as other force majeure circumstances.
If the participant is lucky enough to get on the coveted list, then he will have to fill out an exchange program form. Further, the matter remains for formal issues: obtaining a visa and preparing for the trip.
Requirements for a candidate
Participants must not only demonstrate a good knowledge of English but also meet several criteria:
- study in high school, except for graduation classes;
- you need to be an excellent student, or good; age must not exceed 18 years;
- fall under all conditions related to obtaining a visa.
Also one of the important requirements is a mandatory medical examination. To do this, you need to go to the local doctor to get a certificate that the child does not have infectious diseases, various pathologies, and contraindications to the trip.
This program is free for participants, however, funding has several restrictions. In particular, the parents of schoolchildren must bear the costs associated with obtaining a visa and flying overseas.
Students from 15 to 18 years old have the right to take advantage of this offer. During the exchange, the participant ends up in an American family, where he will be supported throughout the entire period of the trip. The selection is very tough and there are a huge number of applicants, so in order to win, you have to demonstrate outstanding talents. This is mainly because organizers give more preference to children with creative abilities. Also, recommendations from a school teacher can help a lot, where all the strengths of the student will be described.
How to get involved?
The application can be made on the official AFS website. The candidate must fill out a questionnaire consisting of a certain list of questions to which reliable answers are to be given. The main thing is to answer as openly and honestly as possible to avoid possible problems. Forms are available annually from September 15th and will close on October 15th.
Questioning is the primary selection, followed by an interview. It can be passed remotely through communication, as well as in person at the AFS office. The number of places is limited by funding, which depends on the number of sponsors found for the current year. And since the number of places is limited, you should take care of the portfolio, which will include:
- discharge from school with all quarter marks;
- all available certificates and awards, even those that seem insignificant at first glance;
- confirmation of all available sports and creative achievements.
AFS does not impose particularly stringent requirements on applicants, therefore, in theory, anyone can go, but it’s better not to rely on luck and make every effort to achieve the goal.
All expenses related to your stay in the USA are covered by the organizers. But parents of schoolchildren will still have to take on the costs of obtaining a visa and buying air tickets.
What kind of visa you need to apply for
To participate in the exchange program, the participant must issue a nonimmigrant entry certificate. Such a document is issued for a specific period, which in most cases is equal to the duration of the entire program.
To obtain a J1 visa in the United States (this type of document is required), you have to contact the consulate or the American embassy. Besides, the participant’s relatives have the right to issue a J2. This type is intended for the mother or father of the exchange student.
If the applicants fully meet all the requirements, then there will be no difficulties in obtaining a visa. The issued permission will be the basis for the registration of the student’s participation in the exchange program.
Benefits of participating in American programs
A long stay abroad is always a risky undertaking. But we must pay tribute to the organizers, they try to eliminate all the problems that may arise in the process. Therefore, participants expect mainly clear advantages, where they can take out the maximum benefit for themselves:
- Schoolchildren will be able to significantly improve their English skills by getting into the appropriate language environment.
- Participants will be able to broaden their horizons, which in the future will have a positive effect when choosing a life path.
- The opportunity to make friends and useful acquaintances for many years.
- The organizers monitor the safety of the participants. All families that host schoolchildren are carefully checked, and priority is given to well-off with children.
It will be a great chance to get a good education or take an educational course abroad. After which in the future, there will be much more chances to get a prestigious job. This is especially appreciated in companies whose priority direction is the foreign market.