The U.S. State Department, Bureau of Cultural and Educational Affairs, and the U.S. Embassy in Zagreb are pleased to announce the 2023 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 is scheduled to take place in-person from June 24-July 22, 2023, contingent upon the feasibility and safety of in-person programming. 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 students, 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 program, participants 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, disinformation, 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 U.S. Youth Councils, 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.
Due to COVID vaccination requirements in multiple cities that will host BFTF programming, all participants will have to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 with a vaccine approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prior to travel to the United States. Should organizers determine that conditions do not allow for an in-person U.S.-based exchange, Purdue University will transition the 2023 program to a virtual platform.
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.
- be Croatian citizens.
- be born between June 25, 2004, and June 24, 2007 (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;
- be committed to enrolling in high school or university in their home countries in fall 2023, 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 of 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, with community service and educational travel;
- 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;
- be comfortable engaging with the Americans they meet in the host communities; and
- be able to adjust to cultural and social practices different from those of their home countries. 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
Candidates should send in one email only (in an attachment) the following:
- Completed application form in English, together with two essays.
- One signed and scanned recommendation letter (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 final results before April 2023. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Application deadline: 12:00 pm (noon) on February 10, 2023
You should receive an automatic email reply when you send your application, confirming that your application was received. If you don’t receive it within 24 hours, your email was not received, and you should contact us by email at email@example.com immediately.
For all questions, please contact Mr. Mislav Sucec by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone inquiries. Emails will be responded to in the order they are received during regular business hours.