Colin Vega has been awarded a U.S. Department of State scholarship to study abroad during the 2017-2018 school year. Instead of spending what would have been his senior year at Verona High School, Vega will live with a host family and study in Philippines for the next academic year.
Vega is one of only 60 students selected competitively from across the United States who will receive a scholarship to participate in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program. The merit-based award covers the full cost of an academic year abroad, providing Vega a full academic and cultural immersion, including living with a host family in Philippines, attending Filipino high school, and helping him develop the skills necessary to be a leader in the global community. The YES Abroad program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Through Vega’s participation in the YES Abroad program, he will be at the forefront of citizen diplomacy, serving as a “youth ambassador” in his host country, enhancing cross-cultural understanding and deepening trust by building lasting relationships with his host family and peers, and engaging in volunteer service and leadership training to help his host community. Through the YES Abroad experience, Vega will be developing the skills to share American values, find new ways for America to compete effectively in the global marketplace, and contribute to a more peaceful world.
The Kennedy-Lugar YES program was first authorized by the U.S. Congress in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, as an effort to increase dialogue and mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of countries with significant Muslim populations. Initially created as a program for international high school students to live and study in the United States, the YES program was expanded in 2009 to include YES Abroad for American high school students. For the 2017-2018 academic year, YES Abroad provides opportunities for Americans to study for one academic year in twelve diverse countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal, and Thailand.
YES Abroad is administered by a consortium of non-profit organizations, including American Councils for International Education, AFS-USA, AMIDEAST, and iEARN-USA. Exchanges taking place in Philippines are administered by AFS. AFS is a worldwide, nonprofit organization that has been a leader in international exchange for more than 60 years. Visit www.afsusa.org for more information on studying abroad, hosting an exchange student, or bringing intercultural learning into the classroom.