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 2003 and 15 July 2005;
  3. Be studying in grade 9, 10 or 11, or the 1st course of college after 9th grade;
  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 must I bring to testing?

Bring proof of eligibility (original birth certificate or passport – no copies), one recent 3×4 cm photo, and a pen.

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.
What does the scholarship not provide?
  • Costs of acquisition of an international passport
  • Personal expenses not covered by the monthly stipend
  • Excess baggage costs
  • Telephone calls made from the U.S. to home or an e-mail account.
I am disabled. Can I participate in this program?

Yes! Students with physical disabilities are encouraged to apply to the FLEX Program. Please contact the FLEX Program to learn more about special eligibility criteria for students with physical disabilities.

When will FLEX testing take place in my region?

Round 1 of FLEX testing takes place in fall. Check the FLEX website or our Facebook page frequently starting in late August, to see when Round 1 will come to your region.

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.

Is there a way to prepare for FLEX testing? Are there courses to prepare for the testing?

Successful FLEX candidates demonstrate the ability to adapt and thrive in a new environment. A candidate may prepare for Round 1 by improving their English skills.

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.

If I took part in FLEX testing but did not pass a round, may I see my results to check my mistakes?

All FLEX testing material is confidential and will not be shared.

If I do not pass testing in one city, can I try again in another testing center?

No. Each child may only participate in FLEX testing one time per year.

Is there a FLEX program that I can pay to participate in?

No. FLEX is a scholarship exchange opportunity funded by the U.S. Department of State. There is no fee component with FLEX. Other organizations offer study abroad opportunities for a fee.