Information for Applicants
Undergraduate students from Pakistan interested in the topic of Local, State, and Federal Public Policymaking are invited to apply for participation in the Study of the United States Institute for Student Leaders. The Institute will take place at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst from late June to early August 2019. The program will be intensive, academic, and highly interactive. The program sponsors seek energetic applicants who are ready to develop their skills in order to be effective leaders in their schools and communities.
Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders are intensive short-term academic programs whose purpose is to provide groups of undergraduate student leaders with a deeper understanding of the United States, while simultaneously enhancing their leadership skills. Institutes consist of a balanced series of seminar discussions, readings, group presentations, and lectures. Coursework and classroom activities are complemented by educational travel, site visits, leadership activities, and volunteer opportunities within the local community. During the four-week academic residency, participants also have the opportunity to engage in educational and cultural activities outside of the classroom.
The six-week Institute on Comparative Public Policymaking for Student Leaders from Pakistan will be hosted by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute in Amherst, MA. The program will bring together 30 Pakistani undergraduate students with up to 15 U.S. students to address issues of public policy and democracy in the United States and comparing U.S. policy with that of Pakistan. Entitled Getting Things Done: The Context of Public Policy, the Institute examines questions such as: How do problems get on the public agenda? Who has the power to define a problem and how? Where do policy options come from? How are forces mobilized for and against this or that solution? How are responses actually formulated, implemented, and evaluated? Participants will explore the institute theme through hands-on activities including case studies, simulations, presentations, leadership activities, community service, visits with elected officials, and discussions with the local community. These activities coupled with lectures on policymaking at the federal, state, and local levels of government, the role of the private sector in policymaking, and various other policy topics, will weave together a strong understanding of American institutions, and how they function in practicality on a day-to-day basis. The Pakistani students will also travel to New York City, Boston, Charlottesville, VA and Washington, D.C. during a two-week study tour component.
Other Essential Program Information:
- Program Funding: Program organizers will cover participant costs including: program administration; international and domestic travel and ground transportation; book, cultural, mailing and incidental allowances; and housing and subsistence.
- Housing and Meal Arrangements: Housing will be in university housing on campus. Participants may be expected to share a room and bathroom with another student of the same gender. Most meals will be provided at the campus dining hall where Halal food is served. It is important that nominees are aware of these arrangements and that they are comfortable with such accommodations. Care will be taken to ensure that any special requirements regarding diet, daily worship, housing, and medical care are satisfied.
- Health Benefits: All participants will receive the Department of State’s coverage of $100,000 with a $25 co-pay for the duration of the program. Pre-existing conditions are not covered. Information on the health benefit program may be found online at usdos.sevencorners.com.
- Program Requirements and Restrictions: Participants are expected to fully participate in the academic program. They should attend all lectures and organized activities, and complete assigned readings. Candidates should be aware that the Institute is very intensive and that there will be little time for personal pursuits unrelated to the program.
Under no circumstances are participants allowed to arrive in the U.S. prior to the start date of the Institute or remain in the U.S. after its end date. Similarly, participants will not be permitted to leave the Institute to visit relatives or friends while in the U.S. If a relative or friend wishes to visit them, it will be addressed on a case by case basis, in consultation with the program officer and the host institution.
Violations of program rules, host institution rules, or local, state or federal laws can be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program.
- English Language Ability:
All candidates must be proficient in English so that they can actively participate in the academic program. Host institutions will take into account that the level of comprehension and speaking ability of students may vary, and will prepare lectures and discussions that meet the highest academic standards while using language appropriate for students where English is their second or third language.
- Candidate Description and Qualifications:
The participants are expected to be highly motivated first through third year undergraduate students from colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher education, who demonstrate leadership through academic work, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. Their fields of study will be varied, and may include the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, business, and other professional fields.
Candidates applying for this program should:
-be proficient in English;
-be interested in the topic of local, state, and federal public policymaking;
-be between 18 and 25 years of age;
-have at least one semester left of their undergraduate studies, and therefore be committed to return to their home universities following completion of the program;
-demonstrate strong leadership qualities and potential in their university and community activities;
-indicate a serious interest in learning about the United States;
-have a sustained high level of academic achievement, as indicated by grades, awards, and teacher recommendations;
-demonstrate commitment to community and extracurricular university activities;
-have little or no prior study or travel experience in the United States or elsewhere outside of their home country;
-be mature, responsible, independent, confident, open-minded, tolerant, thoughtful, and inquisitive;
-be willing and able to fully participate in an intensive academic program, community service, and educational travel; and,
-be comfortable with campus life, prepared to share living accommodations, and able to make adjustments to cultural and social practices different from those of their home country.
How do I apply?
Complete an application form and submit it to IslamabadExchanges@state.gov by Tuesday December 04, 2018. Only emailed applications will be considered for review. Take special care in answering the essay questions. While saving the file and e-mailing the application kindly use the following format for the subject line: Applicant Name, Name of Institution, city in which you study, for e.g. USMAN KHAN, NUST, ISLAMABAD. (This is important, please do not ignore this.)
While answering questions, please be mindful of the word limits.
The Public Affairs Section will contact applicants selected for interviews based on the criteria above, as demonstrated in the application. Interviews will take place in late December at a location specified at a later date. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
The list of finalists and alternates will be announced by approximately mid-March 2019.
Selected participants will need to obtain passports and apply for U.S. visas with the assistance of the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy.
Students will receive orientation materials in the weeks prior to the start of the program to help prepare them for the program and their trip to the United States. Participants will have an opportunity to speak with the Public Affairs Section about the program.
Participants will travel to the United States for the Institute in the summer of 2019.
Thank you for your interest in the program and good luck with your applications!
Frequently Asked Questions
a. What degree of English proficiency should a nominee have? All participants must be fully proficient in English; throughout the Institute they will need to fully understand lectures, actively participate in discussions, and read and write assignments in English.
b. Can someone who is a dual citizen (U.S. and country of origin) participate in Study of the U.S. Institutes? No. U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) are NOT eligible to participate in this program.
c. How much free time will a participant have during the program? There will be some 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.
d. 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 relative or friend to visit the participant on a specific day designated by the host institution if the schedule permits.
e. Can a participant arrive early/late or stay after the Institute? No. Participants who choose to travel to the United States on a Study of the U.S. Institute are required to abide by the terms and conditions of the program. These terms state clearly that student leaders may NOT arrive in the United States before the program start date or remain in the country after the close of the Institute.
f. Can a graduate student participate in this Institute? No. Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders are designed exclusively for undergraduate students with at least one remaining semester of study.
g. 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.
h. How much money will participants need to bring for the program? The Study of the U.S. Institutes cover all basic costs of an individual’s participation including transportation, lodging, and meals. Generally, host institutions provide for meals through a combination of a cafeteria meal plan, a pre-loaded debit card for use at local restaurants, and/or a cash allowance to permit participants to purchase food for cooking. 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.
i. One of our SUSI alumni has a sibling who would like to apply for the SUSI program. Can he/she apply? Priority will be given to nominees who are unrelated to past SUSI participants. Posts should make every effort to recruit and nominate candidates from diverse backgrounds, areas, and universities.
j. Are participants permitted to smoke during the Institute? Yes. However, participants should be aware that many places in the United States now prohibit smoking. Smoking in such places could be considered a violation of the law. Some places that may prohibit smoking are university housing, classrooms, office buildings, restaurants, public parks, and other locations. Smoking laws will vary from location to location so participants who smoke should look for designated smoking areas.
k. Will applicants with disabilities be considered? Yes, the Study of the U.S. Branch welcomes applications for individuals with disabilities.
l. Can someone who has been to the U.S. before; would he/she be disqualified? No. Individuals with very minimal experience in the United States may be considered for the program. However, priority will be given to those with no previous experience in the United States.