2020 Study of the United States Summer Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on Civic Engagement
The Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, and Turkey, interested in the topic of civic engagement will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2019.
Application submission deadline: January 10, 2020
Please send your completed application, saved in Microsoft Word format, with a subject line “2019 SUSI for Students” by email to TbilisiExchanges@state.gov. Applications saved in PDF format will not be accepted.
Program Description: Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders are intensive short-term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. The five-week Institutes will consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities within the local community. Each Institute will have 20 participants and will include a four-week academic residency component and a one-week integrated study tour to another region of the United States. During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.
The Study of the U.S. Institutes on Civic Engagement will provide participants with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups. The academic program will define civic engagement, examine its development in the United States, and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism. The Institute will also have content dedicated to developing skills for journalism, story-telling, and media literacy. To the extent possible, academic classwork will be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above. The Institutes will encourage participants to develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities.
Program Funding: All participant costs will be covered, including program administration; international and domestic travel and ground transportation; visa travel; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.
Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in university dorms or a full-service hotel. Participants may be expected to share a room and bathroom with another student of the same gender. Most meals will be provided at campus facilities, though participants may have access to a kitchen to cook some meals on their own. Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.
Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay per medical visit and a $75 co-pay per emergency room visit, for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions may be covered up to $100,000, subject to policy exclusions and limitations. Information on the health benefits program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.
Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to fully participate in the academic program. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. The Institute is very intensive and there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.
Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the U.S. after its end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the U.S. If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case by case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution. Participants are required to return to their home countries immediately following the end of the Institute.
Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
English Language Ability: All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of students may vary and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.
Candidate Qualifications: The participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third-year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. Their fields of study may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.
Candidates nominated for this program should:
- be proficient in English;
- be interested in the topic of civic engagement;
- be between 18 and 25 years of age;
- have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and therefore be committed to return to their home universities following completion of the program;
- demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
- indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
- have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
- demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
- have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country;
- be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
- be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel;
- be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What degree of English proficiency should a nominee have? All participants must be fully proficient in English; throughout the Institute, they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
- Can a nominee who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in the Study of the U.S. Institutes? No. U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are not eligible to participate in this program.
- A candidate has been to the U.S. before; would he/she be disqualified? No. Nominees with minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program. However, priority will be given to nominees with no previous experience in the United States.
- Can family members of U.S. Embassy employees apply for the program? Immediate family members of U.S. Embassy employees are ineligible for this program. U.S. Embassy employees are also ineligible.
- How much free time will a participant have during the program? There will be some free time during the program. However, nominees must understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.
- If a nominee has relatives in the U.S., would he/she have time to see them? Participants will not be allowed to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends. Occasionally it is possible for a relative or friend to visit the participant on a specific day designated by the host institution if the schedule permits. These situations will be addressed on a case by case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.
- Can a participant arrive early/late or stay after the Institute? No. Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Study of the U.S. Institute are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program. These terms state that student leaders may not arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the Institute.
- Can a graduate student participate in this Institute? No. Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.
- Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute? No. All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.
- How much money will participants need to bring for the program? The Study of the U.S. Institutes covers all basic costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals. Generally, host institutions provide for meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan, a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants, and/or a cash allowance to permit participants to purchase food for cooking. Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution six weeks prior to the start of the Institute. Other than the meal stipend mentioned above, participants should not expect to receive any spending money from the Institute. Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.
- A candidate participated in the English Access Microscholarship Program; can he/she participate in this Institute? Yes.
- One of the SUSI alumni has a sibling who would like to apply for the SUSI program. Can he/she apply? Priority will be given to nominees who are unrelated to past SUSI participants.
- Are participants permitted to smoke during the Institute? Yes. However, participants should be aware that many places in the United States now prohibit smoking. Smoking in such places could be considered a violation of the law. Some places that may prohibit smoking are university housing, classrooms, office buildings, restaurants, public parks, and other locations. Smoking laws will vary from location to location so participants who smoke should look for designated smoking areas.
- Will applicants with disabilities be considered? Yes, the Study of the U.S. Branch welcomes nominations for individuals with disabilities. We are committed to working with our Institute hosts to arrange reasonable accommodations for all participants.