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About the YES Program

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program, sponsored by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, provides scholarships for high school students (ages 15-18) from countries with significant Muslim populations to spend up to one academic year in the United States. The Kennedy-Lugar YES Program was established by Congress in response to the events of September 11, 2001. The program’s initiative is to build bridges of international understanding between the U.S. and countries that participate in the YES program. Students who participate in the YES program engage in activities to learn more about American society and values and help educate Americans about their countries and cultures.

Although the focus is to learn and create understanding between Americans and those from predominately Muslim populations, YES students reflect a wide range of socioeconomic, cultural and religious affiliations, including people with disabilities. YES participants are selected based on a variety of indicators, including an evaluation of their personal qualities, such as adaptability, leadership potential and motivation for intercultural experience. Upon returning home, YES students become involved in a wide variety of activities in their communities such as volunteering, orienting future YES students, organizing peer mediation workshops and starting small student cooperatives. During their school year in America, they learn to initiate and take part in activities to better their communities. Follow this link to find out more about the YES program and alumni network.

Although hosting an exchange student is a very big commitment, it is one that comes with huge rewards and benefits.

—Host Family

Learn more about hosting a YES student by contacting us at (800) 322-4678 or by email at

Note: Due to program guidelines, YES students can only be placed in certain geographic areas.
Please contact Academic Year in America to find out more.

Begin an exciting opportunity to engage in cultural exchange today!

  • View student profiles
  • Find the perfect fit for your family
  • Receive our Host Family Brochure

While YES students attend high school in the U.S., they engage in activities to learn about American society and values, acquire leadership skills and educate Americans about their countries and cultures.

U.S. Department Flag and Seal

This is a program of the U.S. Department of State with funding provided by the U.S. Government administered by Academic Year in America.

  • Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study
  • Future Leaders Exchange
  • Alliance for International Education and Cultural Exchange
  • CSIET - Council for Standards on International Educational Travel