FLEX Program

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For more information about FLEX, please visit http://discoverflex.org/

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program is a United States Department of State-sponsored program for  school students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. The program provides merit-based scholarships for students to travel to the United States, live with a host family, and attend a U.S. high school for a full academic year.

FLEX was established in 1992 and funding is provided through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program was created from the conviction of former Senator Bill Bradley that the best way to ensure long-lasting peace and understanding between the U.S. and the countries of Eurasia is to enable young people to learn about the U.S. and Americans firsthand, and to teach Americans about their countries. The program served as the model for the YES (Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study) and A-SMYLE (American Serbia and Montenegro Youth Leadership Exchange) programs and has since expanded to other countries.

The primary goal of the FLEX program is to improve mutual understanding and develop and strengthen long-term relationships between citizens of the United States and other peoples and countries. The State Department supports exchanges for secondary school students from over 50 countries through FLEX and other academic year programs. Since the program’s inception in 1993, over 24,000 students have participated in the FLEX program.

Finalists are chosen through a multi-layered, merit-based selection process that draws more than 40,000 candidates annually. Participation in the selection process is open to all students that meet the eligibility requirements, which include age limitations, satisfactory academic standing, English language training, Armenian citizenship, and U.S. visa eligibility requirements. Selection is based on the evaluation of multiple factors that contribute to a positive exchange experience and provide evidence of leadership potential. All finalists undergo an extensive orientation to life in America, and pursue a full course of study at a U.S. high school. Following completion of their program students must return to their homes in Armenia, where FLEX alumni association sponsor activities throughout the year.

Who organizes the program?

American Councils is the central FLEX administrative organization. Its responsibilities include, among other things, recruiting and evaluating scholarship applicants, selecting finalists, arranging round-trip travel between the students’ homes throughout Eurasia to their host families throughout the United States, providing on-program support for the students and their natural parents, as well as organizing and supporting alumni activities.

When and how can I apply?

Representatives of American Councils visit regions (see more: Regions where recruitment is carried out) to conduct testing. Applicants who meet the program requirements (see more: Who is eligible to apply to the program and who is NOT eligible) should come to the designated testing center at the time of initial registration and bring proof of eligibility (birth certificate or passport), one recent 3×4 cm photo, and a pen. Testing center locations are announced as soon as possible through e-mail, press, TV, Radio. FLEX program representatives notify almost all school directors and teachers of the region beforehand. For more information you may also contact American Councils office in Yerevan at (374 -10) 56-00-45 or check the FLEX Application page on this website.

Program Goals

1  Gain an understanding of American society, people, values, culture, diversity and respect for others with differing views.

2  Interact with Americans and generate enduring ties.

3  Teach Americans about your home country and culture.

4  Explore and acquire an understanding of the key elements of U.S. Civil Society.

5  Share and apply experiences and knowledge in your home country as alumni.

What does the scholarship provide and what is NOT provided?

The FLEX scholarship provides the following:

  • Round-trip domestic and international travel (from home to the United States and back)
  • Monthly allowance to help students participate in social activities and buy necessary personal supplies
  • Placement with a selected U.S. host family for one year
  • Enrollment in a U.S. secondary school
  • Program orientation activities including pre-program preparation and re-entry preparation
  • Program activities arranged in local U.S. communities
  • Medical insurance, excluding pre-existing conditions and dental care.

The FLEX scholarship does NOT cover the following costs:

  • Acquisition of an international passport
  • Personal expenses not covered by the monthly stipend
  • Excess baggage costs
  • Telephone calls made from the U.S. to home or an e-mail account.

For more information about FLEX, please visit http://discoverflex.org/