Our site visit to Dallas was a success! Deanna went to Highland Park High School and paid home visits to all three students and host families. Here she is with Irina (Russia), Alika (Ukraine), and Cavid (Azerbaijan) along with Local Coordinator Matt Nelson. They met up at Highland Park Soda Fountain, a fun shop more than 100 years old where students tried their first shakes and ice cream floats! Site visits are our favorites parts of the year because we get to meet our students and thank host families in person. 

Our site visit to Dallas was a success! Deanna went to Highland Park High School and paid home visits to all three students and host families. Here she is with Irina (Russia), Alika (Ukraine), and Cavid (Azerbaijan) along with Local Coordinator Matt Nelson. They met up at Highland Park Soda Fountain, a fun shop more than 100 years old where students tried their first shakes and ice cream floats! Site visits are our favorites parts of the year because we get to meet our students and thank host families in person. 

A Different Type of Camping …

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Ani from Armenia (center), takes part in a team-building activity at the Key Leader Conference in Maryland!

Last weekend was unforgettable. It was my first GLEE activity, and we attended the Key Leader camp. I was so excited to meet so many new people and spend two days with them. I love camping and I have had many other experiences before, but this one was different.

During these two days we learned a lot about leadership, had interesting discussions, played team building games, had a lot of fun, made a bonfire, and made many friends. I completely appreciate the lessons that we learned, because they had a huge influence on my understanding of leadership. I also can never forget the last night looking at the stars on the bank of the river and the sunrise the other day.

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"This is one of the best sunrises in my life, with the best Key Leaders." - Ani

I really enjoyed every single moment there and I wish the camp was a little longer. I’m very happy that I had this opportunity to get knowledge, meet such a nice people and have a lot of fun at the same time. 

Thank you future key leaders for making my weekend unforgettable. I hope some day I will become a Key Leader for my community.
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Ani (first from left) and other Key Leaders staying warm around the bonfire.

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs are distinguished U.S. Department of State youth exchange programs that provide secondary students the opportunity to live and study in the US for one academic year. Click here to learn more about hosting a student!

Congratulations to Mohamed from Egypt and his teammates at Northwest High School in Michigan! They are the proud winners of the Ovid-Elsie Varsity Soccer Championship.

Congratulations to Mohamed from Egypt and his teammates at Northwest High School in Michigan! They are the proud winners of the Ovid-Elsie Varsity Soccer Championship.

-Valeria from Moldova, camping with her host siblings in Waldorf, Maryland
It’s been almost a month since I arrived in the USA. I’m proud to say that I have had a great time being here and I still have a lot of things to discover! This Saturday, me and my wonderful host family decided to go camping … can you guess where?
It was in our backyard! Yes, it felt like we were in the middle of nature, because our backyard has a wonderful view! We started our exciting late evening by cooking hot dogs and ended by eating marshmallows and s’mores. That was super delicious!
We were standing near the fire and everything seemed so comfortable and nice. We talked, laughed and everything felt like home. It was getting late so we went to sleep. Our tent was super big so everyone felt like it was their own bed. We were so tired that we immediately fell asleep. It was such and amazing experience that I will never forget! I hope the weather will be kind to us so we can do that again.
The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs are distinguished U.S. Department of State youth exchange programs that provide secondary students the opportunity to live and study in the US for one academic year.  Click here to learn more about hosting a student!

-Valeria from Moldova, camping with her host siblings in Waldorf, Maryland

It’s been almost a month since I arrived in the USA. I’m proud to say that I have had a great time being here and I still have a lot of things to discover! This Saturday, me and my wonderful host family decided to go camping … can you guess where?

It was in our backyard! Yes, it felt like we were in the middle of nature, because our backyard has a wonderful view! We started our exciting late evening by cooking hot dogs and ended by eating marshmallows and s’mores. That was super delicious!

We were standing near the fire and everything seemed so comfortable and nice. We talked, laughed and everything felt like home. It was getting late so we went to sleep. Our tent was super big so everyone felt like it was their own bed. We were so tired that we immediately fell asleep. It was such and amazing experience that I will never forget! I hope the weather will be kind to us so we can do that again.

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs are distinguished U.S. Department of State youth exchange programs that provide secondary students the opportunity to live and study in the US for one academic year. Click here to learn more about hosting a student!

When Less is More: Embracing a Small Host School

"Well, you’ll have a very different experience from other FLEXers" - American Councils staff (recruitment partner).

Artemiy and his classmates enjoy an impromptu lunch at the Silver Diner in Waldorf, Maryland.


Very different experience, ha. I received this answer when I asked a FLEX staff member about a possible typo in my school information package. It said that my school has 50 students and 5 teachers. I couldn’t believe in it. I just couldn’t imagine a school which is so tiny.

In slightly more than a week I went to my new school for the first time. I entered a small room with approximately ten people in it. The headmistress introduced me to this group as a new exchange student in their school. I found it very strange that she was introducing me to such a small part of my school’s population. How wrong I was at that moment!

By lunch I knew that there are exactly 13 pupils at my school—a school with 13 students! I was stunned. The biggest grade at the Beddow College Preparatory School in Accokeek, Maryland is 6 students, and the smallest one has just two people. I was lucky to be somewhere in the middle, as my grade has 4 students, including me in it.

However, small doesn’t always mean less. Tiny number of students gives this school opportunity to do amazing things. Can your school spontaneously organize lunch outside your school? Mine organized it in Silver Diner on the third school day. Can you take Latin course if you’re the only person in your grade eager to do this? I can. And I am 100% sure that you didn’t know the names of every single student and teacher at your school by the end of first week.

In fact, my school isn’t small. It’s compact. And this quality opens a lot of doors for us. This week we’re going to tennis court. English teacher is full of enthusiasm to take all the students to New York to watch Broadway performance. My science teacher plans a water research of the Potomac river, which is right by my school. Such problems as deficit of school laptops and other equipment isn’t an issue here.

All in all, Beddow College Preparatory High School has a lot of pros and cons. And though I don’t have a well-defined opinion about it yet, I totally agree with American Council staff’s answer. This experience will certainly be unique for me.

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs are distinguished U.S. Department of State youth exchange programs that provide secondary students the opportunity to live and study in the US for one academic year. Click here to learn more about hosting a student!

Back to School - Exchange Student Style!

The Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX) and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) programs are distinguished U.S. Department of State youth exchange programs that provide secondary students the opportunity to live and study in the US for one academic year.

It’s official—back to school season has started! In the midst of meeting their new families and acclimating to life in the US, our FLEX and YES students have also started classes at US high schools. This month, we asked our students to share stories from their host schools:

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- Hira from Pakistan with her classmates during a “hands-on” Chemistry lesson at the Barrie School in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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- Mohamed from Egypt celebrates victory over a rival school with his soccer teammates at Northwest High School in Jackson, Michigan.

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- Nilyufar from Tajikistan enjoys some sunshine at Earl Wooster High School in Reno, Nevada.

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- Cavit from Turkey with new friends at Annapolis High School in Annapolis, Maryland. So far, he has joined the cross country team and orchestra!

Do you want to become a part of our FLEX and YES network around the world? Click here to learn more about hosting a student!

Congratulations to Mohamed from Egypt and his teammates as they celebrate a victory on the soccer field in Michigan!

Congratulations to Mohamed from Egypt and his teammates as they celebrate a victory on the soccer field in Michigan!

Here I am with my adorable host family in my cultural dress from Chitral, Pakistan. Dresses, caps and Dupattas are the cultural gifts which I bought for my family. I have no words to describe my happiness when they tried on all the dresses and came out to show me!
I definitely am having a great time in the States with my host family. So thanks to the YES program for providing me the platform, and my placement organization (WL) for choosing such a perfect family and high school for me!
-Hira from Pakistan with her host sister in Washington, DC

Here I am with my adorable host family in my cultural dress from Chitral, Pakistan. Dresses, caps and Dupattas are the cultural gifts which I bought for my family. I have no words to describe my happiness when they tried on all the dresses and came out to show me!

I definitely am having a great time in the States with my host family. So thanks to the YES program for providing me the platform, and my placement organization (WL) for choosing such a perfect family and high school for me!

-Hira from Pakistan with her host sister in Washington, DC

Hot pancakes made by all… FIRST AMERICAN BREAKFAST!!!
-Reza from Indonesia enjoys his first American breakfast with his host family in Michigan

Hot pancakes made by all… FIRST AMERICAN BREAKFAST!!!

-Reza from Indonesia enjoys his first American breakfast with his host family in Michigan

How beautiful is my school?
-Reza, from Indonesia at Northwest High School in Michigan

How beautiful is my school?

-Reza, from Indonesia at Northwest High School in Michigan