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Welcome Message from Carol Jenkins
For more than 85 years, World Learning has equipped individuals and institutions to address the world’s most pressing problems. We believe that, working together with our partners, we can change this world for the better.
On my travels, I’ve had the opportunity to meet with many of those who have joined us in this mission. In Baghdad, we’ve trained more than 2,300 Iraqi youth who are already giving back at home. In London, our partners in the TAAP Initiative strongly believe that we are all responsible to practice inclusion. And in Vermont, our Experiment in International Living and School for International Training participants prove every day that they have the tools and the determination to change the world.
Please join us in our pursuit of a more peaceful and just world.
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Due to continued public health and safety impacts of COVID-19, World Learning and our partners at the U.S. Department of State, ECA have decided that most Youth Ambassadors Programs will continue virtually through December 31, 2021. Impacted programs, with open or upcoming applications, have been noted on the apply now page.
For January 2022 programming onward, we will 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.
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 exchange program if all eligibility requirements are still met.
Additionally, the time commitment for Virtual Youth Ambassadors Programs is approximately three (3) to four (4) hours per week for synchronous meetings, with additional independent work online approximately two (2) to three (3) hours per week.
The Youth Ambassadors Program brings together high school students and adult mentors from across the Western Hemisphere to promote mutual understanding, increase leadership skills, and prepare youth to make a difference in their communities.
Through in-person or virtual exchange programs, Youth Ambassadors participants will engage in experiential learning activities; leadership trainings; civic participation at the community level; mentoring by community, business, and NGO leaders; engaging with local host families, and volunteering. Exchange subthemes include social inclusion, entrepreneurship, innovation and environmental protection. The Youth Ambassadors Program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State.
Countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay
(as defined by the U.S. Department of State)
- To develop a cadre of young adults who have a strong sense of civic responsibility, a commitment to community development, an awareness of current & global issues, and strong interpersonal leadership skills;
- To foster relationships among youth from different ethnic, religious, and national groups; and
- To promote mutual understanding, respect, and collaboration between the United States and our Western Hemisphere counterparts.
In-Person Youth Ambassadors Programs:
Three-week, Youth Ambassadors programs commence in various locations across the United States, including San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; or in Brattleboro, VT. Participants then travel in smaller cohorts to host communities across the country. All inbound programs include a segment in Washington, DC.
The U.S. Youth Ambassadors exchanges follow a similar program cycle, beginning with a U.S.-based pre-departure orientation, followed by international travel to the exchange country. Three-week, single and multi-country exchanges take place between June – August; exact dates will vary by exchange country.
Virtual Youth Ambassadors Programs:
To be honest, I thought an online experience couldn’t compare to anything in person. But now I know a lot more about the other participants I met with and have come closer to understanding their food, culture, family, and language… We got a lot closer than I thought we could get simply through a screen. This summer experience was great and I’m really happy I got to be a part of it all.
2020 Youth Ambassador from the U.S.
In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Youth Ambassadors Program developed a virtual program that creatively and interactively meets the learning and impact goals of the Youth Ambassadors Program. Virtual Youth Ambassadors participants connect for synchronous (live) and asynchronous activities over the course of five to eight weeks. Virtual programming includes full group workshops based on program theme, social hours hosted by Youth Ambassadors Program Alumni, and small discussion groups.
Throughout the week participants will also complete Self-Directed Explorations (SDE), asynchronous activities to supplement and enhance the synchronous activities. The SDEs will support participant learning through group problem solving activities, individual learning and reflection, and goal setting exercises. As this is a virtual program, participants will connect from their own homes. A computer, laptop or tablet, and internet access are required for the duration of the program. Total engagement for virtual Youth Ambassadors Programs is between 6-8 hours per week.
Follow-on activities with the participants are an integral part of both the in-person and virtual Youth Ambassadors Programs, as participants apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired by implementing projects that serve the needs of their communities.
The Adult Mentor Role:
The Adult Mentor, or Adult Educator, role is an important part of the Youth Ambassadors Program. These adult program participants support the development of group cohesion and community among program participants; assist youth participants in cultural exploration; engage youth participants in learning and help connect their experiences to their Community-Based Service Initiatives; and continue mentorship development following the virtual or in-person exchange by supporting youth participant project implementation. Youth Ambassadors Adult Educators will:
- Facilitate participants’ progress on program activities. This may include supporting Youth Ambassadors Program staff with check-ins on individual participants’ progress; and providing insights, guidance, and encouragement on participants’ assignments and discussions.
- Build the capacity of participants. A key role of the adult educators is to build the capacity of youth participants by enabling them to solve issues or problems as they arise. Youth Ambassadors Program staff do not expect adult educators to solve problems, but rather to empower students to solve their issues/problems themselves.
- Serve as a resource. Adult Educators will serve as a resource for the student teams by sharing their technical expertise, organizational experience, professional networks, and life experience. In other words, if youth participants have questions and are in need of resources to get to the next level, adult educators should point them in the right direction, based on their experience and connections. Following the program, Adult Educators will support youth participants as they implement their community projects. Adult Educators will be available for questions and guidance as participants need.
- Act as a cultural bridge.Adult Educators serve as a “cultural bridge” if youth participants have difficulty understanding each other or any part of the program.
Connect with Youth Ambassadors
- Tumblr Link: http://wlyap.tumblr.com/
- Youth Team Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/youthambassadorsexchange/
- Youth Team Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YouthAmbassadorsExchange
Questions? Contact our Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 1-877-591-9626 inside the U.S. or at 1-802-258-3485 outside the U.S.