American high school students are being encouraged to spend some time studying abroad as it can widen their horizons and help them become the leaders of tomorrow.

Young people who experience other cultures can help make the world a better place and also shape America’s image that is projected to the rest of the world, according to Evan Ryan, US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs.


‘At the US Department of State, after years of helping American teenagers study abroad, we have seen some of the very best of what they can accomplish. It’s inspiring to witness the transformation and growth when they challenge and immerse themselves in a different culture,’ said Ryan.

‘And while they are learning new skills and broadening their horizons, they are acting as ambassadors for the United States, creating the people to people relationships that will benefit our country for generations to come,’ he added.

The department provides merit based study abroad scholarships for American high school students with the aim of developing each participant’s potential and build strong and lasting relationships with people of other countries.

After their summer, semester, or year abroad, the students return home and are encouraged them to share what they learned overseas with their own communities. ‘Their personal growth, leadership skills, and language fluency open new doors and inspire them to be active global citizens. Today’s teenagers are the next generation of leaders and innovators,’ Ryan pointed out.

‘They will be called upon to find solutions to global problems and challenges. They will need to be confident problem solvers and know how to work effectively across cultures and borders. Study abroad provides these essential skills and so much more,’ Ryan explained.

Research shows that foreign exchange experiences make American teenagers stand out to colleges and employers worldwide. In a survey of Fortune 1000 executives, 65% list ‘global awareness’ as very important or absolutely essential in order to be ready for college and a career.

Students can learn more about the US Department of State’s high school study abroad programmes on the exchange.state. gov website. There are exchange programmes with specific countries and also special programmes for those with disabilities.

The Fulbright Programme is the flagship scheme which is designed to increase mutual understanding between young people in America and those in other countries. It is active in 155 countries and offers 8,000 grants a year.

The programme was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and is sponsored by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA.)

Approximately 325,400 Fulbrighters, 122,800 from the United States and 202,600 from other countries, have participated in the program since it began more than 60 years ago.