Let’s do more. Let’s give back. That was the consensus during a planning meeting at ICES headquarters. This idea was different than anything we'd done before. It was exciting and inspiring.
Every year we work to expand our program a little. We bring more exchange students to the U.S. than we brought the year before. We send more high school students abroad than we did the previous year. We’ve rolled out our Global Ambassador program, giving high school students a volunteer leadership role with a cross-cultural focus right in their own high school. But this time, “do more” has a different flavor.
This time, we are giving back in a very tangible way—by giving money. For nearly 30 years, communities across the U.S. have welcomed ICES exchange students into their schools and homes. We are so excited to give back to youth of our host communities by providing five $1000 scholarships to deserving teens through the ICES Global Impact Scholarship. We are thrilled to motivate teens to start thinking seriously about why countries and cultures must learn to understand one another and why we must work together to find answers to world problems. We can’t wait to reward teens who are giving serious thought to these issues and articulating feasible solutions.
We at ICES are well aware of the importance of cultural learning and global understanding because we see the real benefits of it every day. We hear stories of how our international students see their American stereotypes vanish as they experience firsthand living in an actual American family. We see the light bulb moment of a host family when they realize that their mature, compassionate exchange student is the result of a totally different parenting philosophy than they’ve ever considered. But above all, we see geographic and political lines dim as youth exchange creates relationships that supersede race and nationality, and instead are simply called family.
Now, more than ever, we must work together for the common good. We must set aside differences and work together for solutions that benefit us all, both here in the United States and around the world.
So if you are a teen, we hope you will apply! If you are not a teen, we hope you’ll share this awesome opportunity with teens you know. Just completing the application will help teens give serious thought to this important issue, and it may also result in an extra thousand dollars in their college bank account!
For more information and to download an application, go to icesusa.org/globalimpact