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Apply Now: 2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship

Program Hosts:  Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana

The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb are pleased to announce the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship.  The four week program addresses U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, democracy and civil society development, and economic prosperity.  The program will take place in June and July of 2020; exact dates will be communicated at a later time. The program will be hosted by Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

What is the Ben Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship?

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship is an intensive short-term exchange program, created to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and awareness of shared values.  The four week program will enable teenagers, ages 16-18, to explore U.S. foreign policy priorities such as youth engagement, support for democracy and civil society, and economic prosperity.  The program will consist of a series of lectures, seminar discussions and presentations, and a broad assortment of practical, faculty- and mentor-led workshops.  The coursework and classroom activities will be complemented by community service activities, site visits, social and cultural activities, and homestays with American families to deepen participants’ experience of U.S. society during their exchange.

During the academic residency, participants also will have the opportunity to discuss other topics such as democratic practices, conflict resolution, problem solving, communication skills, critical thinking, tolerance and respect for diversity, youth leadership, team building, and the media.  The program will explore how freedom of expression provides rights to and imposes responsibilities on citizens.  Upon their return home, participants will implement service projects in their communities and present an alumni project plan to a youth-serving or youth-centered organization in their home country.  These organizations may include the U.S. Mission Youth Councils, American Corners or American Spaces, and exchange alumni associations.

Who can apply?

Successful candidates are expected to have a strong interest in learning more about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democracy, and an interest in public or community service.  They should have a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, and/or civic participation.  They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this intensity and the personal qualities needed to be successful participants, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness.  These factors are particularly important given the Institute’s diverse group atmosphere.  English fluency is required.

Nominees will have shown serious interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries, and demonstrate a genuine desire to learn first-hand about the United States, its people, society, and institutions.  If selected, nominees are expected to fully and seriously participate in all program components during the month, as well as in follow-up activities afterward in their home country.  In addition, participants should be ready to inform and educate Americans about the cultures and societies of their home countries in non-structured gatherings and in public presentations.

All program costs will be covered by the U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb.  Since many participants will be minors and will be traveling from their home country alone, the U.S. host institution will provide adult chaperones to accompany participants on flights between one or two European airports to the location of the Benjamin Franklin Fellowship and back.

Candidates must:

  • Be Croatian citizens;
  • Correction: Be born between July 22, 2001, and June 22, 2004 (i.e., be 16, 17, or 18 years of age at the time of the program start);
  • Be highly proficient in English, as demonstrated in a personal interview or the results of a standardized test (test is not obligatory, the Embassy will conduct an interview with top candidates);
  • Be committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home country in fall 2020, following completion of the program;
  • Demonstrate strong leadership potential and interest in transatlantic relations and diplomacy;
  • Indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
  • Demonstrate a high level academic achievement, as indicated by academic grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to community and extracurricular activities;
  • Have had little or no prior U.S. 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 summer program, community service, and active educational travel program;
  • Be comfortable with campus life, shared living accommodations, travel and interaction with a multinational, co-ed group of participants from across Europe and the United States, and comfortable with engaging various Americans in the broader community.
  • Be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries.

How to apply?

To apply please fill in the:

  • Application form to be filled in and submitted in MS Word format

Please send in one email only, in an attachment the following:

  • Completed application form in English, together with two essays
  • Two signed and scanned recommendation letters (teachers, trainers, coaches or similar adults that know you and your skills and talents, no family members). Make sure to include their contacts in the letter. Recommendation letters need to demonstrate you are a perfect candidate for this program and can be written in Croatian.
  • Academic records from the last year (no need for translation if in Croatian, send a scanned copy).
  • Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Please do not send additional materials such as: copies of awards, diplomas etc. (please list all your achievements under R. in the application). If we need additional documents, we will ask for it.
  • Please note: you will not be notified about the results before April 2020. If you have college entrance exams in July, we recommend you do not apply as we cannot move the dates of this program.

Please send complete documentation by email only to:  zagrebbenfranklin@state.gov

Application deadline: January 24, 2020