Want to widen your horizons? Get a chance to fulfill that American dream and apply for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange Study Program now! If you are a high school student aged fifteen to eighteen, then you have the chance to study in an American High School, live with a host family, and engage in enriching community activities!

This is the perfect chance to immerse and learn about other cultures, study abroad, and learn more about the world!

What is the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program?

The YES Program (also known as the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program) is an initiative launched in the Philippines in 2004. This was created to expand communication and promote mutual understanding and respect between the Philippines and the United States of America.

Since 2004, over 545 Filipino students have successfully completed the YES Program and have been actively participating as alumni. This program is offered to countries with a significant number of Muslim populations. Accepted high school students will serve as “youth ambassadors” of their home country and will help promote mutual understanding with their host families and communities by forming lasting relationships with them. They will also be asked to help educate Americans about their home country and share their cultures and practices.

Here in the Philippines, along with the local US Embassy, AFS Intercultural Programs Philippines Foundation Inc. manages the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program.

What are the Benefits of the YES PROGRAM?

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program will cover the following expenses on selected finalists:

  • Domestic flight ticket
  • International flight ticket
  • VISA Processing Fee
  • Accommodations
  • Medical Plan/Insurance

Meanwhile, the following requirements will not be covered by the program:

  • Passport
  • DSWD Travel Clearance (for minor)
  • Medical Examinations
  • Immunization and Vaccinations required by the program
  • Pre-existing medical conditions and allergies, dental care, and eye care.
  • Excess or overweight baggage costs
  • Personal expenses and trips during the program

How to Apply for YES Program?

In order to qualify for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program, applicants must be:

  • a citizen of the Philippines
  • 15 – 18 years of age (born between August 15, 2004, to August 15, 2007) by the start of the program (August 15, 2022);
  • enrolled in Grade 8 – 11 at the time of application;
  • have the equivalent of at least B average and without failing grades;
  • meet the US J-1 visa eligibility requirements;
  • preferably have a valid Philippine passport or PSA authenticated birth certificate and DSWD independent travel clearance (for minors) (These may be submitted once selected as a finalist.)
  • part of the top 25% of academic achievers in the grade level;

Note: Immediate family members of AFS Philippines-administered sponsored programs, scholars, and alumni (ASEAN, ACCU-UNESCO, Akiko’s Wish, Egypt educator, JENESYS, Kizuna, AFS INT Diversity, YES, PYLP, AAI Journalism Grant, Kamenori, NEXT 50, HIroshima, corporate scholarships, etc.), as well as AFS Philippines staff and board members are automatically disqualified from the program.

Students with disabilities are duly supported and encouraged to participate in the program. The Department of State and the YES Program work hand-in-hand with MIUSA (Mobility International) in order to provide students with disabilities leadership-building workshops, appropriate information and support to ensure that they get equal opportunities to develop themselves in America.

Steps on How to Apply for the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Program

All applicants are required to take an English proficiency test, write a proctored essay, complete the YES program application form, and participate in group and individual interviews. There will be multiple rounds of applications and selections. Finalists are selected based on merit. For complete guidelines, visit the official link here.

Shortlisted applicants will be notified and invited to attend the Regional Selection Camp and Interview Camp.

  1. Prepare application documents. Download forms here. This must be accompanied with a 2×2 ID sized photo with white background, copy of most recent Form 137 or TOR, scanned copy of valid ID or government ID, scanned copy of Authenticated PSA Birth Certificate, and signed consent by either a parent or legal guardian at the bottom of the pre-application form.
  2. Because of the current situation of the country, AFS Philippines will not be accepting any printed application documents. Submit all documents at [email protected] with the subject “YES 2022-2023 Pre-Application Form” on or before October 22, 2021, at 5:00 PM.
  3. A live information drive will be streamed via Zoom every Mondays and Fridays, starting August 9, 2021. Details of the Zoom meeting will be provided on the following Facebook pages:

Deadline of Application: October 22, 2021 (5pm)

Announcement of Finalist: November 2021

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