State Department Exchange Students Improve Their Communities Through Social Media

Our U.S. Department of State high-school exchange students are some of the best and brightest from countries around the world. Through programs like the American Serbia and Montenegro Youth Leadership Exchange  (A-SMYLE), Future Leaders Exchange (FLEX), and Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES), the U.S. Department of State brings nearly 2,000 future leaders to live with host families and study in American high schools across the United States.

This year, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is doing more to help these amazing young people in our Youth Exchange Programs make lasting connections while they’re here in the United States and equip them with skills that they can use to make positive changes in their own communities and beyond. MORE

A New Generation of FLEX Arrives in the United States

Aleksandr Kim, a participant in the Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX), is pictured with his mother, Olga Pak, in Kyrgyzstan before travelling to the United States in January 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Amy Schulz serves as a Program Officer in the Youth Programs Division of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

The Future Leaders Exchange Program (FLEX) began 20 years ago as a way to introduce high-school students from Eurasia to American society and in turn, expose U.S. citizens to the culture, traditions, and lifestyles of the people of Eurasia. As a sign of its success, FLEX continues to impact a new generation. Olga Pak, participated in the very first cohort of students in the FLEX program in 1993-1994 and spent her exchange year in California. Aleksandr Kim, her son, is the first second-generation FLEX Program participant.

Aleksandr says his mother’s positive exchange experience inspired him to pursue a FLEX scholarship. “My mother was telling me stories about her exchange year since I was 11 years old. She encouraged me to come to the United… more »