Studying abroad in high school is an exciting journey for both you and your child, but the decision to allow your child to participate and deciding on the best program for your child can be a challenging one. We have compiled the information below to help answer some of the questions you may have about the YES Abroad experience. You can learn more about the experiences of participants during and after their YES Abroad year through their stories and testimonials. For further information, please feel free to e-mail the YES Abroad team at [email protected] or call us at (800) 237-4636 x2151.
The safety of our participants is the number one priority of YES Abroad staff and partners. YES Abroad is structured to ensure the well-being of participants to the greatest extent possible. Participants take part in orientations and information sessions to be prepared to make good decisions about their health and safety while abroad. YES Abroad participants are supported in the host country by established and reputable organizations that have been awarded competitive grants by the U.S. Department of State to implement the program. While organizational structures vary, field staff and/or trained volunteers in the host country and here in the United States support participants as well as their host families, and natural parents/guardians. In addition to your child's host family, your child will have regular contact with a trained coordinator in the host community who will provide support, assistance, and guidance, and who will be in regular contact with a staff member here in the United States. All YES Abroad students are provided a local mobile phone for emergency use after arrival in-country.
One of the ways you can help YES Abroad plan for your child’s successful participation in the program is by providing all of the relevant information regarding your child’s personal health and family history on the requested application forms. Living and studying abroad can be a stressful and challenging experience for people of any age. These stresses can be compounded by any existing physical or mental health issues or concerns at home that arise prior to the start of the program. Medical forms are reviewed by medical professionals, but will not be evaluated as part of the selection process; however, they are considered in making country and host family assignments. Medical review does not begin until a student is selected as a Finalist or Alternate and may take an extended period of time. Therefore, it is important that families respond to inquiries related to the medical review in a timely fashion. Results of the medical review will determine if a candidate meets medical requirements necessary for program placement and participation in YES Abroad. Relevant information includes, but is not limited to, a diagnosis of or treatment for an illness, a physical disability, a learning disability, a behavioral or emotional disorder, a dietary restriction, or drastic changes in weight. Recent traumatic experiences or significant changes in the student’s natural family, including serious illness, death, divorce, incarceration, or custodial changes, can also influence a student’s experience. In order to help YES Abroad staff make appropriate decisions about your child’s experience, please inform us of relevant situations as quickly as possible throughout the application process and program. As described in the Terms and Conditions in the YES Abroad application, withholding relevant health information may be cause for disqualification or termination of the scholarship at a later date.
The YES Abroad scholarship covers costs related to round-trip airfare and room and board for the Pre-Departure Orientation (for Finalists); round-trip airfare between the participant’s home region and community abroad (for Finalists); in-country support, cultural activities; school tuition (where applicable); room and board with a host family and secondary medical benefits; visa fees and a modest stipend.
Some costs that you can expect to incur from your child’s participation in the program include costs associated with obtaining a U.S. passport, required medical examinations and immunizations, and extra pocket money while on program.
YES Abroad is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Communities where YES Abroad students will be hosted are selected in cooperation with the U.S. Embassies and Consulates in the host countries. The Department of State and implementing organizations continuously monitor current events in each of the YES Abroad countries. All YES Abroad students are registered with the Office of Citizen Services at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the host country. Students will only be placed in countries that have been approved by the U.S. Department of State.
YES Abroad provides a wide variety of support mechanisms for students preparing to go abroad. Preparation for the YES Abroad experience begins shortly after the Finalists are selected, with activities that may include online resources, handbooks, conference calls, opportunities to speak with YES Abroad and YES alumni, and local events with other exchange students. Participants are also encouraged to be proactive in engaging in their own research on the host country and its culture. Prior to departure, students attend a national orientation in Washington, D.C. that addresses how to stay healthy and safe while living in the host country.
All YES Abroad students live with host families who have been carefully screened and selected. Host families receive formal orientation and training to introduce them to cultural differences and to prepare them for the hosting experience. These families may or may not speak English. Local coordinators, who are proficient in English, provide support to participants and host families throughout the program. Students attend a high school in their community alongside local peers.
With safety in mind, all participants are expected to follow YES Abroad guidelines. These guidelines are outlined in the YES Abroad Terms and Conditions, which is part of the application. YES Abroad administrators strongly encourage parents/guardians to review the YES Abroad Terms and Conditions with their son/daughter before s/he applies for the program. Participants are also expected to follow the guidelines of their YES Abroad implementing organization, which are often specific to the host country and/or community.
YES Abroad implementing organizations are prepared to respond to emergencies in the host countries. Each organization provides 24-hour assistance in the event of an emergency and facilitates appropriate medical treatment, including evacuation, if necessary. YES Abroad consults with the U.S. Department of State and external risk management organizations to monitor the safety of U.S. citizens in the host countries.
YES Abroad participants are provided with secondary medical coverage to ensure that, in the case of an emergency, students will be treated as soon as possible within the host country.