Call for Nominations 2016 Study of the U.S. Institute (SUSI) for Student Leaders on U.S. History and Government

SUSI Poster
SUSI for Student Leaders are intensive academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States.

Program dates are January 9 to February 13, 2016.  The Institute will host a group of up to 20 students from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay. The Institute will be conducted in English and will be hosted at the Institute for Training and Development (ITD) in Amherst, Massachusetts.

E-mail application form to before Tuesday, October 6.

To see the application form, click here. (PDF 79 KB – Get Adobe Reader)

Candidate Description and Qualifications

The participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities.  Their fields of study will be varied, and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.  Emphasis should be made on recruiting participants from non-elite backgrounds, from both rural and urban sectors, and with little or no prior experience in the United States or elsewhere outside their home country.  In addition, recruitment of participants should be focused on historically underserved, indigenous groups, and ethnic minority communities.

Candidates nominated for this program will:

  • be proficient in English;
  • come from historically underserved communities from across the countries;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and therefore be committed to return to their home universities following completion of the program;
  • be between 18-25 years old;
  • have had little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country;
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States and about U.S. history and government;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated in grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • have demonstrated commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
  • be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
  • be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel program; and,
  • be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.

Program Description

Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSI) for Student Leaders are intensive 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.  The Institutes will consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions,  readings,  group  presentations,   and lectures.   The  coursework  and  classroom   activities   will  be complemented by educational travel, site visits, and volunteer opportunities. The Institutes will include an academic residency component of approximately four weeks and a domestic travel component of approximately one week.  During the academic residency, participants will also have the opportunity to get out of the classroom.

The program at the Institute for Training and Development (ITD) will be conducted in English, and will focus on contemporary American life, as it is shaped by historical and/or current political, social, and economic issues and debates.  Students will be provided with an overview of the foundations of democracy as they learn about the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, the federal system of government, elections, the court system, etc.  Students will explore the various complex historical and contemporary issues associated with identity throughout the Americas, including race, ethnicity, and color.

Participants will discuss topics related to immigration and the Latino experience in the U.S.; and will travel to New York City to visit cultural and historic sites.  During their study tour they will take a five-day trip to Arizona where topics in immigration will be revisited along with a discussion of the Native-American experience.  The program will conclude in Washington DC where students will meet participants from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru who participated in the concurrent Institute at the University of Arizona.
Other core components of the Institute include leadership development, community service, and fostering cross-cultural understanding.  Participants will engage with Americans on campus and will also participate in a weekend homestay.

Other Essential Program Information

  • Program Funding: The program will cover all participant costs, including: international travel costs; program administration; domestic travel and ground transportation; books, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.
  • Housing and Meal Arrangements: Participants will reside at the ITD House, an 11 bedroom home situated in the center of Amherst, MA and a 10-minute walk from Amherst College campus.  Most meals will be provided at the Amherst College dinning commons, though some meals will be provided by the program, and participants will also receive per diem that they can use to go out to local restaurants. Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions are not covered.
  • Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to participate fully in the academic program.  They are expected to attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings.  Candidates should be made aware that the Institute is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.
  • Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the U.S. after its end date.  Similarly, participants will not be allowed to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the U.S.  If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case by case basis, in consultation with ECA and the program director.
  • Violations of program rules, host institution rules or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.  It is important that these requirements and restrictions be made clear to all candidates before nominations are submitted.
  • English Language Ability: English language proficiency is a requirement to participate in this program.  The program will be conducted in English.  The Institute is a rigorous and demanding program; participants will be expected to handle short reading assignments in English and to be full and active participants in all seminar and panel discussions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What degree of English proficiency should a nominee have?

All participants must be fully proficient in English; throughout the Institute they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.

Can a nominee who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in Study of the U.S. Institutes?

No.  U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.

My nominee has been to the U.S. before; would s/he be disqualified?

No.  Nominees with little experience in the United States can be considered for the program.  Please be sure to clearly indicate the purpose of the nominee’s visit to the U.S., the year, and the length of his/her stay as requested on the nomination form.

How much free time will a participant have during the program?

There will be some free time during the program.  However, nominees MUST understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, and scheduled events.

If a nominee has relatives in the U.S., would s/he have time to see them?

Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends.  Occasionally it is possible for a relative or friend to visit the participant on a specific day designated by the host institution if the schedule permits. These situations will be addressed on a case by case basis in consultation with the ECA program officer and the host institution.

Can a participant arrive early/late or stay after the Institute?

No.  Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Study of the U.S. program are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program.  These terms state clearly that student leaders may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the institute.

Can a graduate student participate in this Institute?

No. Study of the U.S. Institutes is designed exclusively for undergraduate students.

Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute?

No.  All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.

How much money will participants need to bring for the program?

The Study of the U.S. Institutes cover all costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals. Generally, host institutions provide for meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan and cash allowance to permit participants to cook or eat at local restaurants. Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution six weeks prior to the start of the Institute.  Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.