American Councils for International Education

Educational opportunities for individuals and institutions.

Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX)

About FLEX program

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) Program is a United States Department of State-sponsored program for secondary school students from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Ukraine. The program provides merit-based scholarships for students to travel to the United States, live with a host family, and attend a U.S. high school for a full academic year.

FLEX was established in 1992 and funding is provided through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The program was created from the conviction of former Senator Bill Bradley that the best way to ensure long-lasting peace and understanding between the U.S. and the countries of Eurasia is to enable young people to learn about the U.S. and Americans firsthand, and to teach Americans about their countries.

The primary goal of the FLEX program is to improve mutual understanding and develop and strengthen long-term relationships between citizens of the United States and other peoples and countries. The State Department supports exchanges for secondary school students from over 50 countries through FLEX and other academic year programs. Since the program’s inception in 1993, over 24,000 students have participated in the FLEX program.

Participant Type

High School Student

Eligibility

Students must meet all of the following criteria in order to be eligible for this program in fall 2017:

  1. Be a citizen of the Kyrgyz Republic;
  2. Be born between 1 January 2001 and 15 July 2003;
  3. Be studying in grade 9, 10 or 11;
  4. Have grades of good or better;
  5. Be able to speak English well;
  6. Not have lived in the U.S. for 3 or more months in the last five years.

Students with disabilities should contact the FLEX Program to learn more about special eligibility criteria that benefit them.

How to apply

Scholarship recipients are selected through an open, merit based competition, which takes place each fall. Any student who meets the eligibility requirements may take part in the competition.

The competition consists of three rounds:
Round 1 — Short test of English
Round 2 — Essays in English
Round 3 — Standardized test of English, essays, application and interview

 

Alumni

When FLEX participants return, the program isn’t over. On the contrary, their return marks the beginning of a new life full of opportunities and experiences because FLEX participants return as members of the active FLEX alumni family!

FLEX alumni have a chance to implement their skills and knowledge they have acquired in the United States and help their communities. The FLEX Alumni Coordinator supports FLEX alumni to find friends with similar interests and attain their goals — personally and professionally. FLEX alumni have opportunities to participate in professional development seminars and trainings, volunteer activities, social events and holiday celebrations. These opportunities are the first steps to becoming the Future Leaders of the Kyrgyz Republic.

FLEX alumni are eligible to join the U.S. State Alumni website, which is designed for alumni of U.S. government-sponsored programs, including FLEX. Here they can find out more about job and grant opportunities, as well as connect with other alumni. Among other things, the website has a calendar of upcoming alumni events.

The FLEX Alumni Coordinator keeps track of the contact information for alumni in order to keep them up-to-date on volunteer and development opportunities and to distribute the quarterly alumni newsletter called The Bradley Herald (www.bradleyherald.org).

Upcoming alumni events are posted on the FLEX Alumni Kyrgyzstan Facebook community. Alumni success stories can also be found there as well as on this website.

To learn more about upcoming events or to connect with the FLEX alumni community about volunteer opportunities, please contact the FLEX Alumni Coordinator at: flexalumni@americancouncils.kg

FAQ

What does the scholarship provide?
  • 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 U.S. host family for one year
  • Enrollment in a U.S. secondary school
  • Program orientation activities including pre-program preparation and re-entry preparation
  • Program activities arranged in local U.S. communities
  • Medical insurance, excluding pre-existing conditions and dental care.
When are the results of each round announced?

Round 1 results are generally, but not always, available the same day or the evening of the Round 1 test. Your American Councils representative will inform you when and where the results will be posted. The results of Round 2 are generally announced about three to six weeks after Round 2 testing. Students who pass Round 2 will be notified by phone that they are invited to Round 3. The results of Round 3 are generally announced in the spring. All FLEX finalists and alternate candidates will be notified by phone by an American Councils representative.

How well must I know English to participate in the program?

FLEX is not a language program. Finalists are selected based on a demonstrated ability to adapt and thrive in a new environment, rather than for their language skills. Participants are tested in their knowledge of the English language because knowledge of spoken and written English will be necessary if students are to successfully participate in school and home life in the U.S. If the student has demonstrated characteristics that make him/her suitable to become a finalist, but that student’s level of English is not sufficient, that student may be eligible to receive supplemental language instruction.