Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute 2024

Are you a student (age 16 – 18) interested in learning about leadership, and exploring global issues, community activism, and American culture?  Then apply for the 2024 Benjamin Franklin Summer Institute at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.  The program takes place from June 22 to July 20, 2024.  All expenses will be paid by the U.S. government.  The application deadline is February 19, 2024!

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is an intensive short-term exchange program created to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans and to build strong connections and awareness of shared values.  The four-week program addresses U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, democracy, civil society development, 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 homestays with American families to deepen participants’ understanding of U.S. society during their exchange.  The program will be hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Institute | Purdue University)

During the program, 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, media freedom, and identifying disinformation.  The program 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 U.S. Mission Youth Councils, American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Candidates must exhibit demonstrable interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries and convey a genuine desire to learn about the United States and its people, society, and institutions.  They are expected to fully participate in the academic program and the follow-on activities afterward in their home countries.  They should attend all lectures and organized activities, complete assigned readings, and be ready to share their culture with Americans.

All candidates are expected to have a strong interest in learning about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democratic society, and public or community service.  They should have a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, and/or civic participation.  They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this intensity and the personal qualities needed to be successful, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness.

Candidates nominated for this Fellowship will:

– be born between June 23, 2005, and June 22, 2008 (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 2024, following completion of the program;
– 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 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.

To apply applicants must submit:

  1. A completed application form. You can download the form here.
  2. A recommendation letter in English language by a current high school teacher or university professor (scanned as one document in PDF or JPG format).  You can download the recommendation letter form here.
  3. An original copy of school grades for the 2023 spring and fall semesters (scanned as one document in PDF or JPG format).
  4. A short video (maximum length 1 minute), where you will answer these questions:
    • Can you please briefly introduce yourself and tell us more about your involvement in extracurricular activities, especially those not connected to your school?
    • What do you hope to gain from participation in the BFTF 2024 program?

Please send the application form, recommendation letter, copy of school grades, and video by email with the subject line “2024 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institute” to SejnohovaK@state.gov.

The submission deadline for applications is February 19, 2024.  Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in late February 2024.  Candidates selected to participate in the program should receive notification in late March or early April.