Youth Ambassadors Program

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 accepting applications noted below for the 2023 Cycle. Please check for additional 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): United States Citizens and Residents

Youth United States Citizen Application: United States Youth Ambassadors 2023 (To Countries in the Caribbean & South America) – YOUTH 

Adult Mentor United States Citizen Application: United States Youth Ambassadors 2023 (To Countries in the Caribbean & South America) – ADULT MENTOR 

  • Application Opens: Monday, October 24, 2022
  • Priority Deadline: Monday, November 14, 2022
  • Application Closes: Monday, December 12, 2022, 11:59 pm EST

  • Youth Ambassadors Program with Belize
    • Application Opens: Wednesday, November 23, 2022
    • Application Closes: Sunday, January 8, 2023, 11:59 pm EST 

Youth Belize Citizen Application: Youth Ambassadors with Belize 2023 (To the United States) – YOUTH

Adult Mentor Belize Citizen Application: Youth Ambassadors with Belize 2023 (To the United States) – ADULT MENTOR

  • Youth Ambassadors Program with El Salvador
    • Application Opens: Wednesday, November 23, 2022
    • Application Closes: Sunday, January 8, 2023, 11:59 pm EST 

Youth El Salvador Citizen Application: Youth Ambassadors with El Salvador 2023 (To the United States) – YOUTH

Adult Mentor El Salvador Citizen Application: Youth Ambassadors with El Salvador 2023 (To the United States) – ADULT MENTOR

  • Youth Ambassadors Program with Honduras
    • Application Opens: Wednesday, November 23, 2022
    • Application Closes: Sunday, January 8, 2023, 11:59 pm EST 

Youth Honduras Citizen Application: Youth Ambassadors with Honduras 2023 (To the United States) – YOUTH

Adult Mentor Honduras Citizen Application: Youth Ambassadors with Honduras 2023 (To the United States) – ADULT MENTOR

Application Process 

World Learning encourages all qualified individuals to apply, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability status. IMPORTANTAll 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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 [email protected]

What do I need to apply?
  • 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?

Please send all questions about the program to [email protected].

Selection Process

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.
If selected… 
  • Apply for a passport immediately if you do not have one already
  • Additional information and materials will be provided.

Back to Youth Ambassadors Program

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.

World Learning respects the privacy of your personal information. Our Privacy Policy explains how we collect, protect, store, and use your data. Personal data collected via this application will be used to consider you for participation in, and communicate with you about WorldLearning Programs. Personal data provided via this application may be transferred to and processed by the U.S. Department of State or other partner organizations, as necessary, to administer WorldLearning Programs. IYLEP and Youth Ambassadors Applicants below the age of 16 years must have the consent/permission of parent(s) or legal guardian(s) prior to completing the application. World Learning may verify that such consent has been given prior to considering applicants for any WorldLearning Program.

This Portal may include information which should be considered sensitive and confidential (“Confidential Information”). Such information may include personally identifiable information and sensitive information about the needs or personal circumstances of potential program participants.

In fulfilling your duties you agree not to 1) disclose any Confidential Information, directly or indirectly, to any third party, 2) make use of Confidential Information for purposes other than those for which you have been granted access, and 3) retain any Confidential Information, in any form, following completion of your duties.

Any intentional or inadvertent disclosure, or misuse of Confidential Information, or any conflict of interest or misconduct encountered in discharging your duties should be reported to World Learning immediately.