Study of the United States Institutes for Student Leaders Program is for participants from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay, and provides undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. The 2023 Institute will focus on the theme of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. It will take place in January and February 2023, and it will be conducted in English, hosted by the Institute for Training and Development (ITD), in Amherst, Massachusetts.
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. Each Institute has 20 participants. The Institutes consist of a four-week academic residency with a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations and lectures. Site visits, leadership development, cultural activities, community service, and, if possible, a one-week study tour will complement the coursework and academic sessions. Note that if the program must take place virtually, participants will engage in similar activities but online from their home countries.
The SUSI on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development will provide participants with an overview of principles of entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship by reviewing the development, history, challenges, and successes of U.S. enterprises, business leadership and women’s economic empowerment, in the United States and globally. Topics may include, but are not limited to, social capital strategies for sustainable economic development, financial literacy, banking, microfinance, organizational development and management, innovation, emerging markets and risk analysis, strategic business planning, corporate social responsibility, and minorities in entrepreneurship.
Another Institute for Student Leaders from the Western Hemisphere on Women’s Leadership for Indigenous and Afro-Latina Women will take place concurrently at a different host institution. The Institutes will conclude with a closing forum, if health and safety conditions allow, where participants from both Institutes will come together to network, discuss their action plans, and engage in conversations on relevant topics with U.S. Department of State officials. During the forum, participants will have the opportunity to meet with other peers from Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Peru who are participating in the other Institute.
The Department of State will cover all participant costs, including program administration; international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel, and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing, and incidental allowance, and housing and subsistence as well as arrange and pay for participants’ international and visa travel costs and travel allowance within set limits and in coordination with the embassy. If the program is conducted virtually, there will be a technology stipend to all participants.
Program Requirements and Restrictions
Candidates should be aware that they are applying for an intensive, rigorous, academic program and are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the program. Participants must attend all lectures, participate in all required organized activities, and complete all assignments. Family members and/or friends may not accompany or join participants for any part of the program.
Housing and Meal Arrangements
Housing will be in shared or single university dorms on campus or full-service hotels within walking distance of most classroom activities. Male and female participants will be housed in separate quarters. In addition to regular group meals and a university meal plan, 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. Special accommodations will be made available to the greatest extent possible. Should a participant need to quarantine due to positive COVID-19 test results, accommodations will follow Center for Disease Control (CDC) and host institution guidelines.
English Language Ability
English Language knowledge and/or proficiency are required to participate in this program. All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Therefore, candidate interviews will be conducted in English.
All participants will receive the Department of State’s Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) health benefit during the U.S.-based in-person component, which provides coverage of up to $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. ASPE also covers up to $500 for routine COVID-19 testing requirements in the United States. COVID-19 is treated like any other illness under the ASPE health benefits plan. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at https://www.sevencorners.com/gov/usdos.
Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the United States prior to the start date of the SUSI or remain in the United States after the end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the SUSI to visit relatives or friends while in the United States. If a relative or friend wishes to visit a participant, it will be considered 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.
Virtual Program Contingency
Should health, safety, and travel conditions pose significant challenges, the SUSI will pivot to a virtual format. The virtual program would consist of a minimum of 36 hours of required programming with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. To the extent possible, the virtual programming would include lectures, small group discussions, videos, readings, panels, site visits, leadership development, assignments, and individual and group activities. Participants will be expected to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.
Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection. If a participant does not have access to these two items, ITD will work with the participant and the embassy to facilitate access. Participants would be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should notify immediately the host institution and post of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.
Candidate Description and Qualifications
The participants are expected to be highly motivated, first through third year undergraduate students from higher education institutions, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. Fields of study will be varied and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.
We will put a special emphasis on recruiting participants:
- from diverse social and ethnic backgrounds with an emphasis on underserved and disadvantaged groups, Afro-Latinos, indigenous, and minority communities
- with disabilities
- with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside their home country
- who have had one year of studies and/or who still have at least one more year to finish their bachelor’s degree.
- Be between 18-25 years old
- Be enrolled at a Chilean higher education institution (public or private).
- Be interested in the topic of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development.
- Have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and, therefore, be committed to returning to their home universities, following completion of their institute program.
- Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities.
- Demonstrate very good level of English (minimum B2) as shown in the application form and interview (no need to take an international English test).
- Have a sustained high level of academic achievement.
- Have demonstrated commitment to community and extracurricular university activities.
- Have had 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.
- Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States and about U.S. history and government.
- Be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel.
Deadline for submitting applications: Wednesday, October 12, 2022, 23:59.
*Applications must be submitted in English. *
Link to the application form: https://forms.office.com/g/uQTxjMhVBU