Apply for the Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program

Are you ready to spend one year in the United States, learn about American culture and to share your culture with Americans? Apply for our Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program, which is a fully scholarship that offers high school students in Albania the chance to live with an American family and study at an American high school for a year — for free!

What is the YES program?

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) was established by the United States Congress in October 2002 in response to the events of September 2001. YES is fully funded by the U.S. government and administered by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State. The program provides competitively selected secondary school students with a scholarship to spend a year living in the U.S. with a volunteer host family, attending a U.S. high school to foster understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries around the world. The YES program is supported at the local level by thousands of U.S. citizens and local secondary schools that host, educate, and support students with no financial compensation.

Who organizes the program?

American Councils for International Education organizes recruitment, selection, orientation, and travel arrangements for the YES program in South East Europe. Founded in 1974, American Councils is an international non-profit organization working to improve mutual understanding between countries, exchange ideas among individuals, and enhance collaboration through education.

What does the scholarship provide?
The YES scholarship provides the following:
  • Round-trip domestic and international travel (from home to the United States and back)
  • Monthly allowance to help students participate in social activities and buy necessary personal supplies
  • Placement with a selected and screened U.S. host family for one year
  • Enrollment in a U.S. secondary school
  • Program orientation activities including pre-program preparation, U.S. orientations, and re-entry preparation
  • Program activities arranged in local U.S. communities
  • Medical insurance, excluding pre-existing conditions and dental care
Who is eligible to apply to the program?

The YES scholarship competition is merit-based and open, at no cost, to applicants who meet the following requirements. Students with disabilities are invited to participate in the competition. YES finalists include students with disabilities each year. Selected students with disabilities meet the same criteria as other participants in the program. Students may only apply once to the program during a given recruitment cycle.

According to the current rules, applicants eligible to apply in fall 2019 for the school year 2020/21 will need to:

  1. Be born between January 1, 2003 and July 15, 2005.
  2. Be in the 10th or 11th grade of high school in fall 2019
  3. Be enrolled in a secondary school at the time of application
  4. Have an academic standing of good or better
  5. Have previously studied English and demonstrate English language ability at the time of registration
  6. Meet U.S. visa eligibility requirements
  7. Be able to receive an international passport in the country where they apply to the program where they apply to the program

Students with disabilities must be enrolled in secondary school in the fall of 2019 and be born between February 15, 2002 and July 15, 2005.

The selection process will be organized in two rounds:

First round: Students will be asked to write an essay in English on a General Topic. Please note that this is not a knowledge based essay.

Round One Testing dates in Albania:
Fier -  November 1, 2019 - Shkolla e mesme "Flatrat e Dijes" - 9:00-12:00
Tirana - November 2, 2019 - Universiteti "Marin Barleti", Kampusi 2, Selite - 9:00-12:00


Second Round: Students selected from the first round, will be asked to write an Essay in English on a General Topic, take the English test, sit for Interviews, and fill in the Application form.

For more information, call +355 2235 347 or e-mail