What is the YES Program? What are the Conditions of Participation?

yes program exchange america

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) program is a program initiated by the United States Department of State that enables high school students from countries of strategic importance to study in the United States.

A year-long program;

  • Promote civil society activities,
  • Developing the leadership skills of young people,
  • Building lasting ties between the United States and the participating countries,


Students in the program live with American families, receive a high school education, and participate in community service and civic education activities. Since 2003, the program has hosted nearly 13,000 students from more than 45 countries. The YES program is particularly relevant to countries with significant Muslim populations. The program was initiated after the events of September 11 to improve America's relations with these countries. Students who come to the United States in this context have the opportunity to get to know American culture closely during their one-year stay in the United States.

Is it implemented in Turkey?

Since 2003, the YES program has also accepted high school students from Turkey. Over 880 students from Turkey have participated in the YES program since 2003. The YES program is run by a consortium of non-profit organizations led by the American Councils for International Education. The US State Department, AFS-USA and embassies are also partners in the program.

What are the Yes Program Application Requirements?

To join the program from Turkey,

  • You must have Turkish citizenship or a residence permit in Turkey,
  • You must not have American citizenship or residency,
  • Must be in ninth, tenth or eleventh grade in a high school in Turkey,
  • If you are studying at a private high school, you must have at least 50% scholarship (and present your scholarship certificate),
  • Must be between 15-17 years old at the start date of the program,
  • Your grades must be above 'B' level,
  • Your grade point average for the last two academic years must not be below 70,
  • You must not have less than 50 out of 100 in the last two academic years,
  • Your English level should be above intermediate,
  • Your family's total monthly income should not exceed 50,000 TL,
  • You must meet the requirements to apply for a J-1 visa.

Source: State.gov, YESPrograms.org, AFSUSA.org

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