Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute for High School Students

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

The U.S. Embassy Budapest is soliciting applications for the 2020 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute.   The Institute will take place at Purdue University, in West Lafayette, Indiana in July 2020.  All costs, including domestic and international travel, will be covered by the U.S. Embassy Budapest. Students must be 16, 17 or 18 years of age (born between June 22, 2002, and June 22, 2004) at the time of the program start, to be eligible for participation in the program. Only Hungarian citizens residing in Hungary are eligible to apply. The application deadline is February 9, 2020. We will not consider applications received after the deadline.

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute

The Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute is an intensive short term exchange program whose purpose is to foster relationships among young Europeans and Americans to build strong linkages and an 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.

Applicant Profile

Applicants should have a strong interest in learning more about diplomacy, the transatlantic relationship, the role of a free press in a democracy, and public or community service.  They should have a strong demonstrated interest in communications, advocacy, debate, or civic participation.  They should have the academic aptitude for a program of this nature and personal qualities needed to be successful participants, including maturity, strong social skills, flexibility, and open-mindedness. Applicants must also understand that, if selected, they will be expected to fully and seriously participate in all program components during the month, as well as in follow-up activities afterward in their home countries.  In addition, applicants 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.

During the academic residency, participants will also 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. 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.

Applicant Qualifications

Applicants must exhibit demonstrable interest in pursuing leadership opportunities in their home countries, and convey a genuine desire to learn about the United States and its people, society, and institutions.

Students applying for this Fellowship will:

  • be born between June 22, 2002, 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; be committed to enrolling in high school or university in Hungary in fall 2020, following completion of the Institute;
  • 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, 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;

The Application Process

The application process is very competitive, we usually receive several hundred applications every year.

  1. Download the application form (DOCX 52KB) . Fill in the information, answer the questions and mail the document to benfranklinbudapest@state.gov Please do not send documents in pdf!
  2. Have any of your teachers write a recommendation in English for you attesting to your academic and personal skills and mail it to benfranklinbudapest@state.gov
  3. Make sure that you mail your application before February 9, 2020! Applications received after the deadline will not be considered. The U.S. Embassy will not be held accountable for emails arriving after the application deadline for technical or other reasons.
  4. Students will be shortlisted based on the merit of their application. Applicants who have little or no prior U.S. study or travel experience will be given priority.
  5. Applicants who are not shortlisted will be notified in March 2020 that they have not advanced to the next round.
  6. Shortlisted applicants will be invited for an in-person interview in February 2020 in Budapest.
  7. We will select one primary and one secondary candidate; all shortlisted applicants will be notified about the outcome of their applications.

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ section addresses some commonly asked questions by participants.

  1. What degree of English proficiency should a participant have? All participants must be highly proficient in English; throughout the institute they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
  2. Would I be disqualified if have been to the U.S. before?  No.  Participants with very minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program.  However, priority will be given to participants with no previous experience in the United States.
  3. How much free time will a participant have during the program? There will be some limited free time during the program.  However, participants MUST understand that this is an intensive academic program and they are expected to fully participate in all lectures, activities, site visits, and scheduled events.
  4. If a participant has relatives in the U.S., would he/she have time to see them? Participants will NOT be allowed to leave the institute to visit relatives or friends. Occasionally it is possible for a pre-approved visit on a specific day designated by the host institution, if the schedule permits.  These situations will be addressed on a case-by-case basis in consultation with the host institution.
  5. Can a participant arrive early/late or stay after the Institute? No.  Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellowship are required to abide by the J-1 visa rules.  Participants may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the institute.
  6. Can a participant miss one part or component of the Institute? No.  All participants are expected to participate in all scheduled lectures, events, site visits, trips, and activities.
  7. How much money will participants need to bring for the program? The U.S. government will cover all basic costs of an individual’s participation in the U.S. based exchange.  Generally, the host institution will provide meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan and a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants.  Information on housing and meal arrangements will be provided by the host institution prior to the start of the institute.  Participants should not expect to receive any spending money from the institute.  Participants should bring their own spending money if they wish to purchase souvenirs or other items during their time in the United States.
  8. Will applicants with disabilities be considered? Yes, we welcome applications from students with disabilities. Notification of a disability will not negatively impact selection.

 The U.S. Embassy Budapest is looking forward to receiving your application.