Why are we running this project?
International experience is beneficial for young people in many respects: They get to know a new language and culture and, often enough, also learn a lot about themselves. To this end, many young Germans go to the USA to immerse themselves in the American way of life and improve their English. However, in Germany the likelihood of being able to participate in an exchange program often depends on the type of school young people attend. Due to a lack of offers, many high school students who are not in the track leading up to university don’t have access to such an experience.
What are our goals?
Regarding the current political polarization in Germany and the alienation in transatlantic relations in recent years, the program also imparts intercultural skills as well as openness and tolerance towards other cultures. Particularly in the light of these developments it is more important than ever to support young people and their knowledge about the United States—especially those who otherwise would not have an opportunity to do so.
How does the project work?
Every year, the program enables more than 60 young people from different areas of Germany to participate in a short-term exchange with the US. During the exchange, participants can get a first-hand impression of the US and gain intercultural experiences. All participants stay with host families and are involved in community service projects. In addition, they attend a language class and participate in a cultural program. After their return, the students receive further support through two follow-up meetings and get connected to volunteering projects in their respective home regions.
Who are the target groups?
“USA for You” aims at high school students between 15 and 17 years of age who are not in the school track leading up to university and have not previously been to the United States.
Where is the project run?
The call for applications takes place annually in up to five regions in Germany. The locations for the stays in the U.S. change depending on the availability of host families and community service projects.
Who organizes and supports the project?
The “USA for You” program, initiated in 2017 by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, the City of Munich, and Youth for Understanding (YFU), wants to give high school students from the non-academic track the opportunity to participate in an international exchange with the U.S. The program is partly funded through ERP Special Fund’s German Program for Transatlantic Encounters administered by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI). From 2019 on, a new cooperation partner, Experiment e.V., will fund and offer the program for an additional group of students.