Apply for the 2019 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm are pleased to announce a summer institute for young Europeans.

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is an intensive, short-term exchange program created to foster relationships, build strong linkages, and promote shared values between young Europeans and Americans.  The four week program will enable teenagers, ages 16-18, to explore U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, support for democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity.  The program will consist of a series of lectures, seminar discussions and presentations, and a broad assortment of practical, faculty- and mentor-led workshops.  The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by community service activities, site visits, social and cultural activities, and home-stays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange.

During the academic residency, participants also will have the opportunity to discuss other topics such as democratic practices, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication skills, critical thinking, tolerance and respect for diversity, youth leadership, team building, and the media.  The institute will explore how freedom of expression provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens.  Upon their return home, participants will implement service projects in their communities and present an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-centered organization in their home country.  These organizations may include the U.S. Mission Youth Councils, American Corners or American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Program Host: Purdue University, Indiana

Successful nominees will have a strong interest in learning more about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democracy, and an interest in public or community service. They should have a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, or civic participation. They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this nature and personal qualities needed to be successful participants, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness. These factors are particularly important given the Institute’s diverse group atmosphere. English fluency is required. It is important that nominees exhibit demonstrable interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries, and convey a genuine desire to learn first-hand about the United States, its people, society, and institutions. Nominees must understand that, if selected, they will be expected to fully and seriously participate in all program components during the month, as well as in follow-up activities afterward in their home country. 

It is important to note that the institute is very intensive and allows minimal time for pursuits unrelated to the program. All lectures and organized activities must be attended and all assignments must be completed. In addition, participants should be ready to inform and educate Americans about the cultures and societies of their home countries in non-structured gatherings and in public presentations. Participant’s costs will be supported by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.

Since many participants will be minors and will be traveling from their home country alone, the U.S. host institution will provide adult chaperones who will accompany participants on flights between one or two European airports to the location of the Summer Institute and back.

To apply for the fellowship you must:

– be born between June 22, 2000, and June 22, 2003 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start);
– be highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test;
– be committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home countries in fall 2019, following completion of the institute;
– demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
– indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
– demonstrate  a high level of academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
– demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
– have had little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience in the United States;
– be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful and inquisitive;
– be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive summer program, with community service and educational travel;
– be comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, co-ed group of participants from across Europe and the United States;

– be comfortable engaging with the Americans they meet in the host communities; and

– be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

Application

To apply, please read the following instructions carefully. The application deadline is January 6, 2019 by midnight.

Each applicant may only submit one application. The application is divided up into three sections. The first section is general information about yourself and previous travel to the U.S., the second section is three paragraphs responding to the questions below, and the third asks about special dietary needs and any disabilities. Notification of a disability will not negatively impact selection.  We ask that you identify disabilities during the application process so that we can begin working with the organizers to ensure appropriate accommodations.

Short Essay Questions (200 words each)

  1. Why would you be the perfect BFTF 2018 participant? 
  2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Which three Americans, from history or fiction, would you invite for dinner and a conversation, and why? Be creative!

Please follow the link below to the fellowship application:

LINK TO APPLICATION FORM

For any questions about the fellowship or the application process, please email StockholmIRC@state.gov and include “BFTF” in the subject line. 

Health Benefits

Participants will be covered by ECA’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefits program.  Purdue University is responsible for enrolling participants. ASPE is a limited, health benefit program (not insurance) that covers medical expenses associated with each illness or accident up to $100,000 per occurrence. ASPE does not cover routine examinations or pre-existing conditions. ASPE information is available at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.