Student to study abroad for an academic year

Published 4:00 pm Thursday, August 25, 2022

Ainsley Zirkle, a student from Farmville, has been awarded a YES Abroad scholarship for 2022-2023. Ainsley will live with a host family and study in Jordan for the academic year.

Ainsley Zirkle is one of only 65 students selected competitively from across the United States who received a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to participate in the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad program. The merit-based award covers the full cost of an academic year abroad, providing Ainsley a full academic and cultural immersion experience, including living with a host family in Jordan, attending a Jordanian high school, and helping her develop the skills necessary to be a leader in the global community. The YES Abroad program is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

WHAT IS YES?

Through Ainsley’s participation in the YES Abroad program, she will be at the forefront of citizen diplomacy, serving as a “youth ambassador” in her host country, enhancing cross-cultural understanding and deepening trust by building lasting relationships with her host family and peers, and engaging in volunteer service and leadership training to help her host community. Through the YES Abroad experience, Ainsley will develop the skills to share American values, find new ways for America to compete effectively in the global marketplace, and contribute to a more peaceful world.

The Kennedy-Lugar YES program was first authorized by the U.S. Congress in the aftermath of September 11th, 2001, as an effort to increase dialogue and mutual understanding between people of the United States and people of countries with significant Muslim populations. Initially created as a program for international high school students to live and study in the United States, the YES program was expanded in 2009 to include YES Abroad for American high school students to study overseas.

For the 2022-2023 academic year, YES Abroad provides opportunities for Americans to study for one academic year in twelve diverse countries, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Morocco, North Macedonia, Senegal, Thailand and Turkey.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

YES Abroad is administered by a consortium of non-profit organizations, including American Councils for International Education, AFS-USA, Amideast, and iEARN-USA. Exchanges taking place in Jordan are administered by Amideast. Amideast Education Abroad programs help develop mutual understanding through virtual and onsite programs for young people to study the Middle East and North Africa, improve their Arabic language skills, and interact with the peoples and cultures of the region, especially local families, organizations, and students. Amideast strives to help develop participants’ awareness of their positionality in the world and their capacity for intercultural humility while providing them with safe, secure, and healthy learning and living environments.

For more information about YES Abroad, visit www.yes-abroad.org. For more information about hosting a YES international exchange student, visit www.yesprograms. org/host.