Join the Youth Ambassadors Experience!
The Youth Ambassadors Program is a leadership exchange program for high school students and adult mentors from countries across the Western Hemisphere. The program provides full scholarships for participants to take part in cultural and educational programming focused on a variety of themes specific to the different countries. Youth Ambassadors is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and is administered by World Learning. Exchanges are implemented by World Learning, Amigos de las Americas and Georgetown University CIED.
The program aims to develop a cadre of young adults throughout the Americas who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, a commitment to their communities, an awareness of current and global issues, and strong interpersonal leadership skills. The program aims to promote mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration between people in the United States and other countries of the region.
Participating countries include: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, the Bahamas, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
We are currently NOT accepting applications for the 2023 Cycle. Please check back soon for upcoming application periods:
You must be a citizen and resident of the program you apply to. The application period is listed below for each program, specific exchange dates are included in the program descriptions upon entering the application portal.
Outbound (United States to Countries in Central and South America):
- USYA Application Launch: Monday, October 24, 2022
- USYA Application Priority Deadline: Monday, November 14, 2022
- USYA Application Closes: Monday, December 12, 2022, 11:59pm EST
Inbound (Western Hemisphere Countries to the United States):
Please Note: You must be a citizen and resident of the program country you apply to
Currently, there are no open applications.
World Learning encourages all qualified individuals to apply, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. IMPORTANT: All applications are due by 11:59 PM EST (Eastern Standard Time in the USA) on the designated application deadline. Please make sure that you calculate what time that is in your time zone.
To apply, click on the “New User” link. If you have already registered and are returning to complete your application, use your login credentials to return to your application in progress. Once you are logged in, select the program you would like to apply to from program listing and select your application type (Student or Adult Mentor). Click on the begin application link to access your program's application. Please also take a minute to read our Frequently Asked Questions. To learn more about the Youth Ambassadors Program please visit our website. Please note the application is not accessible through mobile phones. You must access the application via a computer.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the cost of this program?
- There is no application fee for applicants.
- The U.S. Government will pay for international transportation to and from the United States, orientations, program and visa fees and administration, site visits and seminars, lodging and meals, some cultural activities, educational materials, and accident and sickness insurance while abroad. Participants will stay with volunteer host families and in youth conference centers.
- Participants are responsible for expenses related to the application process (copying, mailing, photographs, etc.), passport fees, vaccination fees (if applicable) and spending money for souvenirs and other items in the United States or in your exchange country.
I go to school/work. How can I take off three weeks?
- Youth Ambassador Programs are highly educational. We strongly suggest that you apply even if you are not sure you have permission to miss work/class yet. We are able to provide official letters detailing the program's academic and professional benefits. If you have questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do I need to apply?
- One photo of yourself
- Most recent academic record
- Copy of valid passport if possible (it is not mandatory to have a passport to apply to the program)
- If selected, you will need a passport for the program that is valid for 6-months following the exchange (Ex: your exchange takes place in March, your passport should be valid through September). If you do not already have a passport, we strongly suggest that you apply for a passport upon notification of being a Semi-Finalist.
- Parental consent form
- Letters of Recommendation for United States based applicants (U.S. citizens going TO countries in the Caribbean and South America) You are NOT required to submit letters of recommendation to complete your application. Letters of recommendation may be requested later in the process. We will notify you if you have been selected as a semi-finalist to be interviewed and we will then request two letters of recommendation (the recommendation forms are noted below). However, there is absolutely no need to attach them to the application at this time.
- Letters of Recommendation for applicants of Youth Ambassadors FROM Countries in the Caribbean, Canada, and South America (Non-U.S. Citizens going to the United States) You are NOT required to submit letters of recommendation to complete your application. Letters of recommendation may be requested later in the process. We will notify you if you have been selected to be interviewed and we will then request letters of recommendation, there is absolutely no need to attach them to the application at this time.
Can siblings apply to the Youth Ambassadors Program?
- Yes, siblings can apply to the Youth Ambassadors Program if they meet all eligibility requirements.
What if I am not accepted to the Youth Ambassadors Program this year; can I apply again next year?
- Yes, provided you meet the eligibility criteria again next year.
Who should I contact if I have any questions about the application or program?
What are the criteria for selection?
- Students will be evaluated on the following factors:
- a demonstrated interest in and commitment to volunteer and civic activities
- ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups and tolerate the opinions of others
- leadership potential
- good social and communication skills
- good academic performance
- an energetic, positive attitude
- ability to implement projects that benefit the applicant’s school and/or community
- Adult applicants will be evaluated on the following factors:
- a demonstrated interest in and commitment to service in their local regions
- demonstrated history of supporting youth activities
- strong record in teaching and/or youth programs
- demonstrated leadership ability
- ability to work cooperatively in diverse groups of students and peers and tolerate the opinions of others
- commitment to working with youth after the project to help them implement projects
Are there language requirements for the exchange?
- Exchanges to the United States: There are different language requirements for U.S. based exchanges. Look at the program application for specific language requirements.
- Exchanges for U.S. Participants: Exchange activities in Argentina/Chile, the Dominican Republic, Paraguay/Uruguay and Ecuador are conducted in Spanish. Interested applicants should have studied Spanish for at least two years in school, or have intermediate level Spanish proficiency. The Brazil program does not have a language requirement. However, any ability in Portuguese or Spanish would be considered useful in being successful in the Brazil program.
Will I receive confirmation that my application has been received? When will I know if I’ve been accepted?
- Yes. You will receive an email to inform you your application is complete and has been received after submitting all required forms. You may also refer to the progress meter.
- Yes, you will receive an email to inform you of your status- Not Selected or Semi-Finalist. All Semi-Finalists will receive an invitation for an in-person, phone or Skype interview prior to final selection.
- Semi-Finalists will receive an email after their interview informing them of their new status- Not Selected or Finalist.
- Apply for a passport immediately if you do not have one already
- Additional information and materials will be provided.
Important note for all applicants:
World Learning and our partners at the U.S. Department of State, ECA continue to closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 and will post updates as available. Due to safety considerations, virtual or hybrid programming may be offered as an alternate to an in-person exchange. Impacted programs will be noted on the apply now page.
2020 and 2021 Virtual Youth Ambassadors Program participants are eligible to reapply to the Youth Ambassadors Program in the future to experience the traditional three-week U.S. exchange program if all eligibility requirements are still met.