FLEX - Short Profile
Youth exchange programs with the countries of the Soviet Union began in the 1980s. Exchanges between the U.S. and the USSR, which focused on graduate students and scholars, began earlier, in the 1950s. The FLEX program is the first large-scale, long-term program to focus on secondary school students. This program was created by the United States Congress to extend a hand of friendship from the people of the United States of America to the people of the countries of the former Soviet Union. It established the first long-term exchange program for secondary school students to travel to the United States for a year. Now in its nineteenth year, the FLEX academic year program has provided scholarships to nearly 21,000 secondary school students. In 2010-11, 1,100 students are studying in the U.S. on the FLEX program. Each scholarship recipient will live for one year as a member of a U.S. host family and study in an American high school.
Secondary school students with disabilities are invited to participate in the competition. Approximately 20 students with disabilities are invited to the U.S. under this program each year. Selected students with disabilities meet the same criteria as other participants in the program.
The FLEX scholarship provides the following:
The FLEX scholarship does NOT cover the following costs:
The concept of exchange programs grew out of a desire for nations and their people to build bridges of understanding after World War II. Since then, the youth exchange movement has become well known and accepted in many countries throughout the world. What makes youth exchange successful is the unique way in which young people learn about other country and culture: by living as a member of a host family, not as a guest. The success of this formula has resulted in a global awareness of the positive impact of exchange,not only on relations among nations, but on the lives of hundreds of thousands of participants, their peers, schools, communities, and parents. Many of today's world, national, and local leaders have themselves participated in an exchange experience and can attest to its positive impact on their lives.