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YES Abroad (Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study Abroad); Full Scholarships between the US and countries with significant Muslim populations (and a few others too),
Topic Started: Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:35 pm (6,203 Views)
heidi

65 full State Department scholarships to countries with significant Muslim populations, administered by AmidEast, American Councils, and AFS.

I just found out that I am a semi-finalist several hours ago! There are 110 semi-finalists for 65 scholarships. Anyone else going to IPSE/looking to apply next year?
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Matsunoki
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Congratulations, heidi! Good luck with the rest of the process :)
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mourinho
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Ooh, congrats! That's so exciting :D
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mburucuja

Tebrikler!
(I'm assuming Turkey is your first choice?)
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azafran

Congrats!!! YES sounds so amazing.

I'm considering applying next year (along with NSLI-Y) for a gap year, but I'm not sure I want to do another traditional high-school exchange.
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heidi

Thanks everyone! I'm really excited. 19 days until IPSE (In-person selection event)!!

azafran, I would apply if you have time - I mean, if you get the scholarship, you could always decide then not to go. Of course, there are always different opportunities to go abroad afterwards, besides the traditional high school exchange.
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azafran

How much work is the app (how many essays) and when was it due this year? Part of it is that I want to put as much effort and time as possible into my NSLI-Y Arabic year app, because I think that program is perfect for what I want in a gap year, and I REALLY want to go to an Arabic-speaking country and couldn't go to Morocco or Oman with YES. Also what countries have you ranked? Aren't a lot not open to gappers (you're a senior now, right)?
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mburucuja

The due date changes a bit every year, but it's typically due early January. The essays are about as intensive as NSLI-Y if I remember correctly. The thing is they're a little higher-stakes, because so few people move on to the IPSE where many more people are interviewed locally for NSLI-Y.

Not sure if it's up-to-date, but I found a gap year list (Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey) here. The country list changes a bit every year- Egypt and Mali have been taken out, and Bosnia, Macedonia, South Africa, and the Philippines are all relatively new additions. There was also talk of Tunisia at one point, but I don't think it ever happened. You never know, there could be awesome options next year that don't exist now!

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Matsunoki
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I was surprised to see that YES was sending students to South Africa. Does anyone know the reasoning behind it? I looked it up and they don't have that large of a Muslim population. YES didn't mention Islam and instead emphasized the country's past of apartheid on their site, so are they expanding their general purpose (ie from Muslim countries to any with especially complicated histories) or can a country have a small percentage of Muslims and still "count" under the original mission?
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mburucuja

South Africa is probably the least Muslim, but many of the YES countries are mostly non-Muslim. Thailand is only about 5% Muslim, the Philippines are about 10%, India is 13%, and Ghana and Macedonia are both around 30%. I'm not really sure if participants are specifically placed with Muslim families or in places with large Muslim communities in South Africa though, since they're less than 2% Muslim. I'd love to hear more about it from someone who studied there!
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