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Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders Summer 2022
December 10, 2021


Opportunity for Undergraduate Students:

Announcing Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders on the following themes of Civic Engagement and Environmental Issues. SUSIs are intensive short-term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders (see eligibility section for complete requirements) with a deeper understanding of the United States while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. The five-week programs will take place during the June to August timeframe in 2022; exact dates will be communicated at the time of selection.  Meridian International Center will oversee the program.

Each Institute will have up to 20 participants from across Europe, with likely one spot for a Spanish student in each Institute.  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, and community service complement the coursework and academic sessions.  If conditions allow, the Institute will include a one-week integrated study tour in the United States.  Note that if the program must take place virtually, participants will engage in similar activities but online from their home countries.   

Institute Descriptions: 

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Civic Engagement, hosted by Michigan State University, will provide participants with an overview of how citizens have shaped U.S. history, government, and society both as individuals and groups.  The academic program will define civic engagement; examine its development in the United States; and explore topics such as citizenship, community building, economic development, grassroots activism, political leadership, and volunteerism.  In order to enhance the academic experience, the Institute will focus on specific themes such as civil rights and protections, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), citizen journalism, social movements, education, governance, minority communities, leadership, and media.  Academic sessions will be complemented with hands-on sessions or workshops designed to build skills in the topics mentioned above.  The Institute will encourage participants to develop innovative and practical plans to become engaged citizens in their own communities.  Academic activities will be supplemented with a study tour to Seattle, Washington.  Should conditions allow, the SUSIs for Student Leaders from Europe will begin with an Opening Forum in Washington, D.C.  

The Study of the U.S. Institute on Environmental Issues hosted by the University of Nevada, Reno will provide participants with an overview of climate change along with its impact on communities in the American west, natural resources, and the local economy.  Academic sessions will explore clean energy, sustainable development, the risks of natural disasters, and the intersection of climate justice and community activism.  In order to enhance the academic experience, the Institute will focus on specific themes and sub-topics such as strategic communication, social justice, emergency response, water rights, energy efficiency and sustainability.  Academic activities will be supplemented by opportunities to engage with the local community, including a weekend homestay, meeting with local environmental non-profits, and, if conducted in-person, a study tour to New Orleans, Louisiana.  Should conditions allow, the SUSIs for Student Leaders from Europe will begin with an Opening Forum in Washington, D.C. 

Essential Information about the SUSI Program 

Program funding:The program will cover all participant costs including program administration; international and visa travel, travel allowances, domestic travel and ground transportation, book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances, and housing and subsistence. If the program is conducted virtually, the program provider will work to provide a technology stipend to participants. 

 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.  It is important that nominees are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations. 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) guidelines.    

Health Benefits:  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. 

Program Requirements and Restrictions: Candidates should be made aware that they are applying for an intensive and rigorous academic Institute 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.   

English Language Ability: English Language proficiency is required to participate in this program.  All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program.  Host institutions will consider the varying levels of participants’ comprehension and speaking ability and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.    

Travel Policy: 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 continue to 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 would be expected to fully participate in the entire virtual program from their location.      

Connectivity: Should the program need to pivot to a virtual format, participants would need access to a computer and a stable internet connection. Participants will be expected to actively engage in all program activities, and therefore, they should notify immediately the host institution, post and/or commission of any issues with their online access during the duration of the program as well as any difficulties affecting their participation.          

Eligibility: Candidates should 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.  

Candidates nominated for this program will:   

  • be Spanish nationals;
  • be proficient in English;
  • be interested in the Institute topic;
  • be between 18 and 25 years of age;
  • have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and be committed to  returning to their home universities following completion of the program;   
  • demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
  • indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and/or teacher recommendations;  
  • demonstrate commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
  • have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States;
  • 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;
  • if the program is conducted in-person, be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country; and, 
  • if the program is conducted virtually, posts/Fulbright commissions must ensure that participants have access to the internet and help facilitate such access if needed.
  • be prepared to submit a report on their program experience. 

 How to apply? 

Applicants for the Study of the U.S. Institute on Civic Engagement must complete the following google form: https://forms.gle/MXsk2BYyy7FHZsFr9 

Any questions relating to the Civic Engagement selection process should be sent to: susi@talentoparaelfuturo.com 

Applications for the Study of the U.S. Institute on Environmental Issues must complete the following google form: https://forms.gle/kWUgWt8KPqXPM35GA 

Any questions relating to the Environmental Issues selection process should be sent to: info@bioagradables.org

The following information will need to be uploaded for all applications:  

  1. CV 
  2. Academic Transcript 
  3. Up to two reference letters 

The deadline for both applications is January 7, 2022.  Incomplete or late applications will not be considered.